Email claims that staff members were sent the wrong paychecks by mistake and suggest that you open an attached file to retrieve your correct check.
The email is not legitimate and the attachment does not contain a paycheck. Instead, the attached .zip file harbours a malicious file that, if opened, can download and install malware on your computer.
Subject: wrong paychecks
Hey [name removed]. They send us the wrong paychecks. Attached is your paycheck arrived to my email by mistake.Please send mine back too.
According to this email, which may appear at first glance to be from another staff member in your organisation, workers have been sent the wrong paycheck by mistake. The person named as the sender has supposedly attached your paycheck and asks that you send her check back in return.
The email may use the first part of your email address as a greeting. So, if your email address contains your name, it may appear that the email is addressing you by name and must therefore be from someone who knows you.
However, the email is not from a fellow staff member and the attachment does not contain any paycheck. Instead, opening the attachment can lead to a malware infection.
The criminals responsible for this attack hope that at least a few busy office workers will open the attachment without due care and attention.
If you do open the attached .zip file, you will find that it contains another file hidden inside, If you then click this hidden file, it may not appear to do anything. But, in fact, it may be downloading and installing malware without you realising.
The malware installed may be ransomware, which can encrypt the files on your computer and then demand that you pay a fee to online criminals to get an unlock key. Or, the malware may steal sensitive information such as banking passwords from your computer.
If you receive one of these emails, do not open any attachments or click any links that it contains.
Last updated: October 7, 2016
First published: October 7, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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!