There’s a neverending flow of new and old email scams. A client sent me this subscription renewal scam email with a “…got this today but didn’t reply…just checking with you” note. Here’s the full text of the scam email.
We Thank you on the completion of your 5. years.
Windows Defender protection plan with TECH WEB
We have charged you $555.00 for the 5. years of subscription from your account.
We tried to contact you on your register number for queries but could not get through.
Deduction of amount will appear on your account within 24 hours f you have any question or wish
to cancel the renewal please connect us on with in 1 days other wise it will be automatically
renew the service and the amount will be deducted automatically after that we
do anything and the amount will be not refundable. So please contact within given hour.
Helpline number : +1 (91O)-42O-99O1
How this Subscription Renewal Scam Works
It was obviously a scam but I always like to check into them. After a quick search, I didn’t find any email scams that match the strategy but I did find robocall scams that work the same way. In a robocall scam, it would say something like, “press 1 to speak with…”
Basically, they want you to reply so they can get credit card info or bank info so they can process the refund but, of course, they aren’t going to process a refund. They are going to steal your money. OR, they might ask you click a link in another email so they can put spyware or other harmful software on your computer.
Here’s a visual breakdown of this scam email:
I hope this helps you or a client avoid falling for it.
DISCLAIMER: There are probably completely legitimate and well-meaning companies named “Tech Web” so just because this email referenced that name, please don’t automatically think any company with that name is a scammer or part of a scam.
What to do if You Get a Subscription Renewal Scam Email
Report it as Spam and/or Phishing, block the sender, and delete the email.
Tips to Avoid Email Scams
Here are six basic tips to help you avoid 99% of scams.
- If you get an email from a company you are not familiar with — and it is asking you to do something related to payment or an account — delete it.
- NEVER EVER sign into an account from a link in an email — even if you are familiar with the company. (caveat, if you JUST requested a password reset or submitted a form that you know will send a confirmation link, then it should be ok).
- Hover and check the link. If there’s a link in an email, you can hover your mouse over it and the actual link address/URL will appear in the bottom left corner of your screen. If it’s the real website (there may be a subdomain such as click.uschamber.com/ and that’s ok) then you’re good. If it’s anything other than expected, skip it. You’ve probably got better things to do.
- What’s the FROM address? Is it from the actual website or is it a yahoo or Gmail account or from a .ru or other foreign domain name extension account? Yes, there are PLENTY of those that are legitimate addresses but you probably know them already. Avoid them if you are not familiar with the sender.
- Is it personalized? Most legit accounts will correctly personalize emails they send to you. It will start with your name or “Mr. Johnson” or whatever — generally not “Dear Customer”. This is not always true but it’s a good thing to check.
- Common sense / trust your gut. Is the email riddled with mistakes in grammar and punctuation? Is it obviously written by someone who doesn’t know English well (again, there are plenty of honest people…)? Does what they describe not make sense?
Example of Tip #3 “Hover and Check” for Scam Links
This is an email I got from the US Chamber of Commerce. I’ve been subscribed to them for years BUT scammers might try to make emails that match the branding of their emails and put no-good-down-and-dirty scammy links in it. Before clicking, I hover over the link and check the URL that appears in the bottom left. Yes, it goes to the US chamber website. Legit. Always “hover and check”.
Scam Emails Are Real. Be on Alert.
Spam protection is pretty good these days and probably catches 95% of the scam and phishing emails sent to you BUT some will make their way through — such as the subscription renewal email scam my client received today.
Follow these tips at a minimum and go ahead and check your spam settings in your email, too.