A member of the public received an official-looking email purporting to be from Microsoft, but it’s a scam designed to steal bank details. Here’s how it works.
We were informed when an email was received by a member of the public concerning a Microsoft ‘Covid relief fund’, containing a very official-looking letter branded with the Microsoft logo.
The letter states that the company is giving away $1bn to support Microsoft users across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic.
It says that the recipient has been selected to receive $9.6m, and it requests their full name, age, sex, occupation, address and contact details.
The letter even links to a page on Microsoft’s genuine website, news.microsoft.com.
The vast windfall obviously rings alarm bells. But should genuine Microsoft customers, using products such as Microsoft Office, worry that they’re being targeted deliberately?
Microsoft is an ideal cover for the opportunist scammers behind this email. They have the ability to send out millions of emails with one click, knowing that most recipients will have a Microsoft program on their device.
This makes it seem more credible, but it will be a scattergun approach rather than an example of deliberate targeting.
Microsoft wouldn’t need you to submit extensive personal details when you are already its customer. It doesn’t make sense. And anyone can list a link to Microsoft’s website.
Those submitting their details would probably receive follow-up contact demanding their bank account details so they could receive their ‘winnings’.
Worse still, their details may be compiled into a so-called ‘suckers’ list’ and sold on to other criminals – meaning victims are deluged with scam attempts for years.
To avoid falling prey to scammers, never respond straightaway to unsolicited requests for your personal information.
Always take at least five minutes to think it through and figure out how to verify what you’ve been told.
Have you received this fake Microsoft email?