Home ScamsPhishing Scams Phishing Email Masquerades as ‘Trojan Virus’ Infection Warning

Phishing Email Masquerades as ‘Trojan Virus’ Infection Warning

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email purporting to be from an email service provider claims that the recipient’s email has been infected with a Trojan Virus. The message claims that the recipient must click a link to delete the virus and recover the email account.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from any email service provider. The message is a phishing scam designed to trick people into giving their email account login details to Internet criminals.

Example

Subject: You have one message Alert

Attention E-mail Account Holder,

We were notified that your email has been infected with Trojan Virus, please ensure do not download any unknown program from the e-mail. In order to delete the virus and recover your email, please click on the following link below.

Recover now.

Sorry for the inconvenience,

BT Technical Information’s Department.

 

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, the recipient’s email account has been infected with the dreaded “Trojan Virus”.  Technical support staff at the user’s email service provider supposedly sent the warning message.  The email advises the user to click a link to delete the virus and restore the email account.

But, alas, the email is certainly not from any email service provider. Instead, it is a rather crude attempt to trick users into divulging their email login details.
People who click the link as instructed will be taken to a bogus website that hosts a fake email account login form. They will be told that they must login to their accounts so that the “Trojan Virus” can be removed and account access restored.

However, the username and password they submit on the fake form will be collected by scammers and can subsequently be used to hijack the real email accounts belonging to the victims.

These hijacked accounts can then be used to launch further spam and scam campaigns.

The example included here claims to come from BT. Virtually identical versions of the scam claim to be from other high profile email providers including Yahoo, Gmail and Microsoft.

Ironically, some similar “warning” emails actually attempt to trick users into visiting a website and downloading trojans.

Be wary of any email that claims that you must follow a link or open an attachment to fix a virus issuerectify a problem with your email account or update account details. This is a very common phishing ploy.

Always login to your webmail account by entering the address into your browser’s address bar rather than by clicking a link in an unsolicited 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