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‘Pending Messages’ Email Account Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, which purports to be from your account’s “Email Protection System”, there are messages pending delivery on your email portal.

The email includes a date a few days prior when the pending messages were supposedly first sent.

A table in the email gives details about the messages. The email instructs you to click on the linked subjects in the table to view the messages.

It is signed by “Web Admin” at “Webhosting(c) 2019 Secured Service” and includes a Redmond, WA address.  The Redmond address is perhaps intended to imply a connection to Microsoft, which has its US corporate headquarters based in that location. To increase the likely hood that you may panic and click without due caution, one of the subject lines of the supposedly pending messages refers to an outstanding payment for a large sum of money.

The email is not a legitimate admin notification and the claim that you have messages pending in your account is a lie. Instead, the email is a phishing scam designed to trick you into divulging your email account login credentials to criminals.

Clicking any of the links in the email opens a fraudulent website that asks you to enter your email address and email password. The criminals can collect these details and use them to take control of your email account as well as other linked services such as app stores and online storage.

After they have gained entry to your account, they can use it to send spam, scam, and malware emails in your name. If they can access the account’s linked services as well, they can make app store purchases, read and download your stored files, and harvest more of your personal information.

Using the account and the information they have collected, they can pretend to be you online and perhaps even steal your identity. They may also be able to hijack other online accounts you own by using the reset password option,  which often uses a password change email sent to your account.

Email account phishing scams like this one are very common. Be wary of any email that claims that there are messages that have not been delivered or that there is an issue with your account that you need to rectify. If you receive such a message,  do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Instead, access your email account’s admin area via a trusted app or by entering the address into your browser’s address bar. If there really is a problem with your account, you will most likely be informed via an internal message after you log in.

A screenshot of the scam email:

Pending messages phishing scam email  

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