Home Malware ‘Invoice for Penalty Charge Notice’ Malware Email

‘Invoice for Penalty Charge Notice’ Malware Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Computer virus attack

This email purports to be an invoice related to a traffic offence penalty charge notice. According to the email, the sender has paid the fine on your behalf to prevent it from escalating further. Supposedly, payment for the fine will be taken from your account via direct debit in 9 working days.

The message suggests that you open an attached Microsoft Word file to read more information about the fine.

However, the email is not a legitimate traffic fine invoice. Instead, it is an attempt by cybercriminals to trick you into infecting your computer with malware. If you open the attached Word file, you will be prompted to enable macros, ostensibly so that the contents of the document can be correctly displayed. If you do enable macros as requested, or if they are already enabled, the malicious macro that runs may download malware to your computer.

For those that may not be aware, a ‘macro’ in this context is a set of instructions that can act as a single command in order to automatically accomplish a task. Macros can save time by making repetitive tasks easier to carry out. Microsoft Office programs and other types of software allow you to create your own macros as required to aid your workflow.

However, macros can also be used maliciously. In the past, macro virus threats were common. Thankfully, later versions of Microsoft Office disabled macros by default thereby lessening the threat posed by macro viruses. But, online criminals are again using macros to trick people into installing malware. Unless you have a specific need to use macros and are aware of the potential risks, you would be wise to leave macros disabled.

Fake traffic ticket emails are commonly used to distribute malware.




EXAMPLE:

Subject: Invoice for IA65155060

To Whom It May Concern,

Please find attached an invoice relating to Penalty Charge Notice Number IA65155060 along with a copy of the contravention.

In order to prevent this fine from escalating further we have paid this fine on your behalf. Should you have any queries concerning these charges please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Payment for this invoice will be taken by Direct Debit 9 working days from the date of this email.

Please refer to page 2, point 3.6 in your Terms and Conditions for information on Traffic Offences.

Regards,

Juanita




Last updated: January 7, 2016
First published: January 7, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Macro Virus Threat Returns – Beware Emails With Malicious Word Attachments
‘Uniform Traffic Ticket’ Malware Email
Malware spam: “Invoice for IA20114520”

 

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