PHISHING SCAM - 'Click to Read Vital Newsletter'Outline
Email claims that the sender has uploaded a vital newsletter using Google Docs and requests that recipients click a link to gain immediate access by signing in with their email address details.
The email is a phishing scam designed to trick users into giving criminals access to their email accounts and, possibly, other online services. There is no newsletter, vital or otherwise.
Subject: VITAL NEWSLETTER
I uploaded this vital newsletter using my google doc. For immediate access CLICK HERE
Sign in with your email.
According to this email, the unidentified sender has uploaded a 'vital newsletter' to Google Docs. Recipients are instructed to click a link in the message to get immediate access to the supposed newsletter.
However, the link does not lead to a newsletter in Google Docs as claimed. In fact, the message is a phishing scam designed to fool recipients into giving their email account login details to online criminals.
Those taken in by the trick will find that clicking the link takes them to a website where they are supposedly required to login with their email details to view the document. Users must choose their email account provider by clicking the appropriate graphic on the bogus website. When they click on the graphic, a new window will pop up that asks for their email address and password:
After they click the 'Sign In' button, users will then be presented with a spinning 'please wait' notification until being informed that the server is too busy and they should try again later. They will then be automatically redirected to the Google Docs homepage.
The 'server too busy' ruse is apparently designed to provide a reason why users have not been taken to the 'vital newsletter' as promised. Thus, at this point, users may still not realize that they have just been phished.
Meanwhile, the criminals can use the stolen login details to hijack the compromised email accounts and use them to perpetrate further scam attacks, all in the names of the victims. And, since Google and other service providers may use the same login details for multiple services, the criminals may be able to access a lot more than just email.
This type of email phishing is very common and has many incarnations. Be very wary of any unsolicited message that claims that you need to click a link and provide your email account and password to view an 'important' message.
Last updated: April 9, 2014
First published: April 9, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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