This story was first published on November 21, 2013
Email purporting to be a bill notification from phone service provider Vodafone suggests that the bill may be larger than usual and invites recipients to open an attached file to read more information.
The email is not from Vodafone and the attachment does not contain billing information. Instead, the attachment contains a hidden .exe file that, if launched, can install malware on the recipient’s computer.
Your bill is ready
This month’s bill for your account is ready online. It’s for £590.59.
If it’s a bit more than usual, it could be because you went over
the minutes, texts or data included in your plan. Or made calls to 08
or international numbers. Or even used your phone abroad.
You’ll find more about what is and isn’t included in your plan on your
bill. And there are some great ways to keep costs down at vodafone.co.uk/extras
Check attached file for more information
The easy way to keep track of your bills
To make sure you know what to expect from future bills,
we’ve made it easy to keep tabs on all your minutes,
texts and data. Wherever you are.
On your mobile: Download the free My Vodafone app on iOS,
Android or BlackBerry
Online: Log in to My Vodafone
Over the phone: Call us on  free from your mobile
Vodafone Customer Services team
If you’ve got a question, try our online support area.
You’ll find loads of useful information and advice. But please don’t reply to this email as it won’t reach us.
This email, which claims to be from phone service provider Vodafone, warns recipients that their current bill may be a bit more than usual. The email, which masquerades as an official Vodafone bill notification message and includes Vodafone graphics and formatting, urges recipients to check an attached file for more information about the bill.
However, the email is not from Vodafone and the attached file is not a billing statement as claimed. The attached file contains hidden malware. The amount of the supposed bill may vary in different incarnations of the scam.
Those responsible for the message hope that at least a few recipients, panicked into believing that they have received an unexpectedly large bill, will open the attached file without due forethought. And, many service providers now offer billing notifications via email, so the malware email may initially appear to be genuine.
Users who do open the attached .zip file will find a .exe file hidden inside. If they proceed to open this .exe file, they will install malware on their computer. Once installed, such malware can typically allow criminals to harvest personal and financial information from the infected computer. The malware may also allow the criminals to clandestinely take control of the infected computer and use it for their own nefarious purposes.
In the past, similar bogus notification emails have been used to distribute malware to AT&T customers. And, Vodafone customers have also been targeted in various phishing scams that used fake notification emails. Be wary of any email from your phone or Internet service provider that asks you to open an attached file or click a link to check bill details or update account information.
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!