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Home ScamsPhishing Scams Scotiabank ‘Blacklisted Location’ Phishing Scam

Scotiabank ‘Blacklisted Location’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Customers of Canadian based bank Scotiabank are being targetted via a phishing scam email that claims that their accounts have been deactivated. 

The email purports to be an automated message that was sent because Scotiabank had attempted to send you a secure, encrypted alert. The email includes the supposed alert message as an attached PDF.

The PDF claims that the bank’s security systems detected a threat in your account because it was accessed from a blacklisted location. It warns that your account has been deactivated “pending your immediate reactivation” and urges you to click an “Activate Here” link. The PDF includes the Scotiabank logo to make it appear legitimate.

However, Scotiabank did not send the email and your account has not been deactivated.

If you fall for the ruse and click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent webpage that has been built to emulate the genuine Scotiabank website.

Once on the fake site, you will be asked to provide your account login details. After “logging in”, you will be instructed to complete a “verification” form, ostensibly so that your account can be re-activated. The form requests identifying personal and financial information, including your card PIN and the answers to your account security questions (see screenshot below).

After you complete the form and hit the “Continue” button, you will then be redirected to the genuine Scotiabank website.

But, now, the criminals can collect the information you supplied and use it to hijack your Scotiabank account, conduct fraudulent transactions, and attempt to steal your identity.

Phishing scams continue to be one of the most common types of Internet-based fraud and target customers of many banks and other financial institutions all around the world.

If you receive an email claiming that your account has been deactivated or suspended or that you must deal with a supposed account issue, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains. 
Always login to your online accounts by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via a trusted app. If there is an account problem that you need to deal with, you will most likely be informed via an internal message that appears after you have logged into the system.

The Scotiabank website includes information about phishing scams and how to submit any scam emails that you may receive.

An example of the scam email:

Subject: #Scotia Bank InfoAlerts#Customer Service#
This automated message has been sent because has attempted to send you a secure, encrypted e-mail message REF/NO.CASCOT03-CMAOS-CASMIE8
Attached file:  ALERT-[String of Digits].pdf

Screenshot of attached PDF:

Scotiabank Phishing Scam Attached PDF

Bogus Scotiabank Update Form

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,