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 links that appear throughout 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 links have been disabled.  If you had hovered your mouse over the links, you would have seen that it would have taken you to a site that wasn’t related to AOL.

AOL Official Mail banner image.

Related image

Dear Member,

In June of last year, AOL teamed up with Yahoo to become one company, called Oath.

Oath is a leader in digital and mobile media with a global house of brands, and a member of the Verizon family of companies.

We have now unified and updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy which govern our relationship with you as an AOL Mail user and as part of the new Oath family.

Due to our new Oath Terms of Service and Privacy Policy we will be closing all email accounts using our old services. This simply means your email account will be discontinued {Closed} after July 12, 2021.

As part of our integration activities and to improve our services to you, if you wish to continue using our email services please accept our new terms to avoid email closure.

You can learn more about our New Terms by clicking link below

https:/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

If you do not wish to have the new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy apply to you, you can choose to cancel your account and stop using our services.If you have any questions or need additional help, please refer to our https://helpxxxxx

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

Best regards,
Oath

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 although in an effort to trick you, the counterfeit blue seal does appear in the email itself.  The fact that the seal does not appear in your inbox helps to indicate this is a scam.  This email also does not refer to you in the salutation, but merely reads “Dear Member.”   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.

Also, this email is outdated in that it refers to a merger between AOL and Yahoo occurring last June when the truth is that Verizon bought AOL in 2015.  Verizon later bought Yahoo in 2017 and merged AOL and Yahoo into a subsidiary named Oath in 2017.  Verizon then renamed the merged company as Verizon Media in 2019 although both AOL and Yahoo maintain their respective brand names.  Just this past May Verizon sold 90% of Verizon Media to Apollo Global Management.  None of these sales involved closing email accounts using old services although there were changes to the privacy policies.

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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