Today’s Scam of the day is about a phishing email presently circulating that attempts to lure you into clicking on a link in order to continue using your AOL account.  Millions of people still use AOL.  One reason is that you get greater email privacy when compared to some other email carriers. Due to its popularity, scammers and identity thieves often send out phishing emails that appear to come from AOL, such as the one reproduced below that was sent to me by a Scamicide reader. If you click on the link in the email one of two things can occur and both are bad.  Either you will end up providing personal information to an identity thief or you will, merely by clicking on the link, download dangerous malware such as ransomware on to your phone, computer or other device.  Here is the email presently being circulated.  The link where it reads ” Visit ITS Help Desk-Here” has been disabled.  If you had hovered your mouse over the original link, you would have seen that it would have taken you to a site that wasn’t related to AOL.

Dear AOL User,

Your AOL version is outdated and has expired. Failure to Upgrade to the newest AOL Webmail 2021 will now result in a permanent account closure. According to provision 17.9 of Terms and Conditions, AOL may at any time terminate its services for accounts.

Visit ITS Help Desk-Here to Re-Validate your mailbox

Regards,
Thanks for choosing AOL
 
Tim Armstrong.
Managing Director, AOL Mail Consumer Sales and Service

TIPS

When AOL communicates with its customers about their accounts, they do so by AOL Certified Mail, which will appear as a blue envelope in your inbox and will have an official AOL Mail seal on the border of the email.   No official AOL Mail seal appears in the inbox.  This email also does not refer to you in the salutation, but merely reads “Dear AOL User.”.   Whenever you get an email, you cannot be sure who is really sending it.   In the case of this email, the email address of the sender had no relation to AOL and most likely was the email address of someone whose email account was hacked and made a part of a botnet of computers used by cybercriminals to send such communications.  Never click on a link unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate.  If you think the email might be legitimate, the best thing to do is to contact the real company that the email purports to be from at an email address or phone number that you know is accurate in order to find out if the communication was legitimate or not.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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