This email, which purports to be from Australian telecommunications company Telstra, supposedly contains your latest Telstra business bill in an attached file. The email includes the Telstra logo and other company graphics and is professionally presented.
However, the email is not from Telstra and the attachment does not contain a bill as you might expect. Instead, the attached .zip file hides a dangerous .exe file that, if opened, can install malware on your computer. The exact purpose of this malware may vary in different incarnations of the message. But, typically, such malware can collect sensitive information such as banking passwords from the infected computer and send it to cybercriminals. It may also download and install other types of malware and allow the criminals to take control of the infected computer.
As such malware campaigns go, this is a fairly sophisticated attempt. The email closely emulates a genuine Telstra email bill. If you are expecting your bill email, you might not notice at first glance that the account number and email address listed on the message do not belong to you, especially since the email uses a spoofed address to make it look like it was really sent by Telstra. The legitimate emails do include bills as attached files, but they are PDFs, not .zip files with .exe files inside. Genuine Telstra bills will include your full name as well as your normal account number.
Online criminals have repeatedly used fake bill emails to trick Telstra customers into installing malware or divulging personal information. Similar malware emails purporting to be from Telstra have been hitting inboxes for several years. Other versions do not carry malware but are instead phishing scams designed to trick you into sending your personal and financial information to online crooks via fake websites or fraudulent forms contained in email attachments.
If you receive your Telstra bills via email, always take the time to check that any bill emails your receive are really from Telstra before you open the attachment or click any links.
Last updated: February 16, 2016
First published: February 16, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter 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 YouI 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 DateHoax-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!