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‘AOL OATH Switch’ Phishing Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, which purports to be from AOL,  your account will be cancelled if you do not click a link to “switch to the new AOL OATH”.  

The message claims that the switch is necessary because AOL and Yahoo teamed up in 2017 to become one company called Oath.

However, the message is not from AOL or Oath and the link opens a fraudulent website. It is a phishing scam designed to steal your AOL account login credentials.

It is true that Verizon has formed a new subsidiary called “Oath” that incorporates both Yahoo and AOL. The deal was completed in June 2017.  In this case,  the scammers have capitalized on news of the merger to make their fake message seem more credible.

And, in a further attempt to make the email seem legitimate, the scammers have copied some of the text from a genuine Oath email that informed users about changes to the company’s privacy policy.

But, to reiterate,  the email has no connection to Oath and it is not true that your account will be cancelled if you do not click the link.

If you do click the link, a fake AOL login screen will load in your browser. The login screen asks for your username or email address as well as your account password. If you enter this information and click the sign in button, you will then be automatically redirected to the genuine AOL website.

But, now the scammers can collect your login information and use it to hijack your AOL account. Once they have gained entry to your account, they can steal information you have stored there and use the account to launch further spam and scam campaigns in your name.  They may also be able to access any services that are linked to the same account.

If you receive one of these emails, do not follow any links or open any attachments that it contains.

It is always safest to login to all of your online accounts by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via a trusted app. If a company does require that you make changes to your account such as agreeing to an updated privacy policy, you will generally be informed of this via a message you see after you log in. 

Update: New Version

In April 2019, another version of the message began hitting inboxes. The new version falsely claims that your  “AOL email address will stop working after 20th of APRIL 2019 unless you switch to AOL OATH”. Again, the button in the email opens a fraudulent website designed to steal your account login details. (See second screenshot below for an example of the scam email. 

An example of the scam email:

AOL Oath Phishing Scam Email

A second version:

AOL Phoshing Scam

 



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,
Hoax-Slayer