Trench gets an antivirus scam email

As I mentioned in my previous post, (which you should really read by the way) I help my boss craft blog posts for his corporate blog. We do a lot of posts about consumer level scams.

One scam that’s been around for years is the antivirus scam. Before I tell you about how the scam works, let me show you the scam email I received that somehow managed to avoid my spam filters.

It looks like an invoice from Norton Antivirus, who are about to bill me $440 for a recurring subscription. The problem is, I haven’t used any antivirus software since Windows XP, and I sure as hell never paid for it.

But not everyone is as tech-savvy as me, and I’m far from an expert. They may have paid for an antivirus program in the past. They may think that this email is legit. The goal of the email is to get the recipient to call the customer service number, where they’ll be connected to a scammer posing as customer support. The phony customer service will ask for the victim’s financial information, and then it’s all downhill from there. I’ve seen reports where victims have lost money in upwards of $100K to this scam.

But since I got the email, I’m going to show you how to know it’s a scam.

First, look at the email address it was sent from. I don’t think a company as big as Norton is going to have their accounting department use a Gmail address. Not to mention, my email address isn’t an Outlook address.

Also, check for grammatical errors. I mean, what kind of sentence is “If you wish to not to continue subscription”?

Then check out the phone number. Not a lot of U.S. businesses start their phone numbers with +1. The +1 is usually intended for international calling, as +1 is the international calling code for the U.S.

Lastly, never call a phone number listed in an email like this. Instead, if you really need to call, look up the customer service number on the company’s website. Do not take the first phone number that comes up in a Google search, either. Scammers often pay for Google Ads that put their phony customer service number at the top of Google’s rankings.

If you get an email, text message, DM, or phone call from someone who says you owe them money, always be suspicious.

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