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ACH Payment Canceled Malware Email

by Brett M. Christensen


Email purporting to be from the Automated Clearing House (ACH) claims that a recent payment made by the recipient has been canceled and that he or she should open an attached file to review details. 

Brief Analysis

The email is not from the ACH. The message is an attempt by Internet criminals to trick recipients into opening the attached file which contains malware.


ACH Payment Canceled

The ACH transaction,
recently initiated from your checking account (by you or any other person), was canceled by the other financial institution.

Rejected transaction
Transaction ID: 3882269
Reason for rejection: See details in the attachment
Transaction Report: report_082011-65.pdf.ZIP (ZIP archive, Adobe PDF)

13450 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 100 Herndon, VA 20171 (703)561-1100 2011
NACHA – The Electronic Payment Association


Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which purports to be from America’s Automated Clearing House (ACH), a recent checking account transaction has been canceled by “the other financial institution”. The recipient is urged to open an attached file to see details of why the transaction was canceled. The message contains the signature and address of NACHA – The Electronic Payment Association.

However, the message is certainly not from the ACH and the attachment does not contain information about a financial transaction. Instead, the attachment contains malware. Those who open the attached .zip file will not find a financial document, but rather a .exe file. If they open this .exe file, malware will be installed on their computers. This malware is able to connect with remote servers and download and install further malware such as rogue anti-virus programs. 
The ACH and the entity’s managing body NACHA have been targeted by scammers for several years. Some have been malware attacks like this one, while others have been phishing scams designed to trick users into divulging personal and financial information. Because the ACH is an official funds transfer system that processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in the United States, at least a few recipients may be inclined to believe the claims in this malware email and open the attachment as instructed.

Neither ACH nor NACHA will ever send you an unsolicited email that asks you to open an attachment or follow a link and supply personal information. If you receive an email that claims to be from the ACH or NACHA, do not open any attachments that it may contain. Do not follow any links in the email. Do not reply to the email or supply any information to the senders.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,