This email, which purports to be from Australia’s Commonwealth Bank (CBA), is supposedly a ‘First NetBank Third Party Payment’ notification about a recent payment from your account to a third party.
The email suggests that more than $7000 has been transferred to another account for the purpose of ‘Assistance to Refugees’.
The message claims that you can open an attached file to access more information about the transaction.
However, the email is not from the Commonwealth Bank and the attachment does not contain information about any account transactions. Instead, the attached .zip file harbours a dangerous executable file that, if clicked, can install malware on your computer. Once installed, the malware may download further malware that can steal sensitive information such as banking and social media account login details or lock up your computer’s files and demand a ransom to release them.
The criminals responsible for this scam bank on the fact that at least a few recipients will be panicked into opening the attachment and infecting their computers. On seeing the message, some recipients may mistakenly believe that their account has been compromised and thus quickly open the attachment in the hope of finding out more information.
Moreover, to make their message seem more legitimate, the scammers have attempted to emulate genuine Commonwealth Bank notification emails. The first time you make a payment transfer to another account, the Commonwealth Bank does send you a ‘First NetBank Third Party Payment’ notification email as a security precaution.
However, unlike this malware email, the genuine messages greet you by name and they do not ask you to open an attachment or click a link to read further information. Instead, they provide an overview of the transaction in question and advise that you can check transaction details from within your online banking account.
Banks and other financial institutions are very unlikely to send unsolicited emails that advice you to open a statement or click a link to view transaction details. It is always safest to login to your online accounts by entering the account address into your web browser’s address bar or via an official account app.
Subject: First NetBank Third Party Payment
First NetBank Third Party Payment
Your first transfer to the following third party account(s) has been successfully processed:
From Account: **** **** **** 4924 Visa To Account(s): Monty Boykin 587-136 ***0022 China Unionpay $7,540.54 Assistance to Refugees
Please check attached file for more information about this transaction.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Please do not reply. To confirm this is a genuine email sent by the Bank, please check your inbox on the NetBank home page.