Scams

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Scams, especially via spam emails, but also increasingly via social media, are an ongoing problem. Everyone needs to exercise a degree of wariness.

The point of a scam is to somehow gain an advantage from you. It may be remittance of money, or just simply giving away personal details. But if you look at an incoming e-mail and it is correctly addressed to you, then you are already on a list somewhere that is being distributed or sold. Apart from abandoning that particular e-mail address, there little you can do about it.

PCUG clearly state that we will never ask you for sensitive details (login, passwords, etc) via email. If there is ever a problem with your account, we will ask you to ring or drop-in at the PCUG Centre to resolve it, where both we and you, can confirm who you are working with.

Most reputable organisations (banks, credit unions, trade unions, clubs etc) have similar policies of never requesting sensitive information to be supplied electronically, as it is just too easy for spammers to forge such messages.

This is simply good basic Internet practise.

I regret to say that a few of our members have fallen for such scams previously. As a result, their accounts were used to send many thousands more SPAM emails, which resulted in the PCUG being placed on blacklists at the time, thus blocking some email delivery for all users. So please exercise caution as carelessness by one member can inconvenience and disrupt usage for all!

Please review the links below for further information, and take specific note of the scam emails listed which target PCUG members specifically.

Also, a scamwatch e-mail list has been set up to allow members to warn other members about, and to discuss, scams/spam. You can subscribe to the list by going to the PCUG's scamwatch listinfo page.

See also our page with more practical guidance on Handling Email SPAM

Contents

More Information

For some guidance on how to avoid being caught by scams, see:

Scam Warnings

Most scams use well-known brands to try to convince you of their trustworthiness - the Australian Government and its agencies, ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth banks, Woolworths, Coles and the list goes on. If you are in doubt about any company-branded email, find their real site and visit it. Most have gotten over their shyness about scammers trying to steal their identities, and are quite up front about the attempts being made to con readers.

Scams Targetting PCUG Members Specifically

We note here some scam emails that use PCUG's name and/or address in them. As stated above, these should be obviously recognised as scams, since we will never ask you for this type of information by email.

Please Do NOT follow any links or open the any attachments! in any such emails!

SCAM - December 2015 - Subject: User Verification

The following scam is being sent to members circa December 2015:-

"Dear Pcug.org User,

This is to inform you that pcug.org. Security Center is shutting down some accounts due to congestion. This notification has been sent regardless of your last login date and you are required to access your account by clicking the link below to confirm usage and enjoy uninterrupted services.

Notification Date: December 30th, 2015

To update your services; click http://<non-pcug-url-removed>/ OR copy and paste the link on your web browser to update your account. The Account Update Team at Pcug.org! Thank you for being on the network and apologize for any inconvenience caused.

ABOUT THIS MESSAGE:

This service message was delivered to you as pcug.org! Customer to provide you with account updates and information about your account benefits."

Note

  • the actual from address is not a PCUG address!
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the click "here" link contained has now been disabled

SCAM - February 2015 - Subject: Email Storage Alert

The following scam is being sent to members circa February 2015. Note

  • the actual from address is not a PCUG address!
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the stated mail quota maximum size is wrong
  • the click "here" link has been disabled below


 Your mailbox is almost full.
 
 Dear xxxxxx@pcug.org.au,
 
 3840MB   4096MB 
 Current size   Maximum size 
 
 Please reduce your mailbox size. Delete any items you don't need from your mailbox and empty your Deleted Items folder. Click here 
 to do reduce size automatically.
 
 
 Thanks,
 
 Mail System Administrator

SCAM - January 2015 - Subject: WARNING CODE:VX2G99AAJ

The following scam is being sent to members circa January 2015. Note

  • the from address is not even PCUG! It's <technicalunit@careceo.com>
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • our admin would have already known your user name & address!
  • the warning code is meaningless
Dear Account User,
 
               Warning Code: VX2G99AAJ
 
 This message is from our email messaging centre.
 Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit in our Server.
 You may not be able to send or receive mails in coming days.
 
 We request you upgrade your webmail account immediately by
 providing your account details as stated below.
 
 EMAIL ADDRESS:_________________________
 ACCOUNT USERNAME:______________________
 PASSWORD:______________________________
 
 Failure to reply to this email as instructed will render
 your email account in-active in our database.
 
 PCUG.ORG.AU ADMINISTRATOR

SCAM - August 2014 - Subject: You have incoming pending messages

The following scam is being sent to members circa August 2014. Note

  • the Karen Albert in the From: is certainly not our Karen!
  • the actual from address is an Iran account <f.farahbod@eng.uk.ac.ir>
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the grammar is woeful!
 From: 	Karen Albert <f.farahbod@eng.uk.ac.ir>
 To: 	Recipients <f.farahbod@eng.uk.ac.ir>
 
 Dear User,
 
 This is to inform you that you mailbox have exceed its storage limit set by the admin. So you may not be able to send
 or receive email until itis resolved. Please CLICKHERE to submit the form and wait for responds via Email. We apologies 
 for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
 
 Regards,
 Email Helpdesk Administrator

SCAM - July 2014 - Subject: Your messages are pending

The following scam is being sent to members circa July 2014. Note

  • the actual from address is an Iran account <f.farahbod@eng.uk.ac.ir>
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the grammar is woeful!
 From: 	Karen Albert <f.farahbod@eng.uk.ac.ir>
 To: 	Recipients <f.farahbod@eng.uk.ac.ir>
 
 Dear User,
 
 you have some incoming pending mails were due to the recent hacking into our server and upgrade to our database, In 
 order to receive this messages CLICKHERE and submit the form and wait for responds from your Email Account. We 
 apologies for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
 
 Regards,
 Email Helpdesk Administrator


SCAM - Feb 2014 - Subject: PCUG email users

The following scam is being sent to members circa February 2014. Note

  • the actual from address is a brazilian account (same as last 2 scams) <andreia@gr1editora.com.br>
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the grammar is woeful!
 From: *PCUG Email notice* <andreia@gr1editora.com.br>
 Date: Thursday, 13 February 2014
 Subject: PCUG email users
 To:
 
 This is to inform all PCUG email users that we have change to a secured email
 system to help us fight against spam emails so you are therefore authorise to
 click the link below to avoid any problems or spam attack to your email address.
 Log-in to your email with your PCUG  log-in account details and then click finish, to
 avoid any problems to your account you must complete this process.
 
 CLICK HERE TO FINISH UPDATE TO PCUG.ORG.AU NEW WEBMAIL SYSTEM
 http://www.formlogix.com/Manager/UserConditionalSurvey244203.aspx?Param=VXNlcklkPTI0NDIwMy5Gb3JtSWQ9MQ==

SCAM - Jan 2014 - Subject: Pcug email users

The following scam is being sent to members circa January/February 2014. Note

  • the actual from address is a brazilian account, despite what the text name says! PCUG Service Administrator <andreia@gr1editora.com.br>
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the grammar is woeful!
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 00:12:08 -0200
From: PCUG Service Administrator <andreia@gr1editora.com.br>
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Subject: [PCUG] Pcug email users

This is to inform all Pcug email users that we have change to a
secured email system to help us fight against spam emails so you are  
therefore authorise to click the link below to avoid any problems or
spam attack to your email address. Log-in to your email with your Pcug
log-in account details to avoid any problems to your account you must
complete this process.

http://securedpcug.form2pay.com/131173.html

SCAM - Jan 2014 - Subject: Dear Pcug User

The following scam is being sent to members circa January/February 2014. Note

  • the actual from address is a brazilian account, despite what the text name says! Pcug University <andreia@gr1editora.com.br>
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the grammar is woeful!
From: Pcug University <andreia@gr1editora.com.br>
Subject: Dear Pcug User
Date: 27 January 2014 3:27:38 AM AEDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
 
--
Dear Pcug User
 
There is an emergence from our data base we are currently carrying-out a
maintenance process to your mailbox account, to complete this process
Please copy and paste the link on you web Browser or click on the link
fill and click on submit.
 
http://webupdate.form2pay.com/130542.html
 
(copy it and paste it into your web browser's bar. then fill and submit for
complete update)
 
This process will help us to fight against spam mails. Failure to complete
this process, will have your mailbox account deleted from our database.
 
Thanks
HELP DESK

SCAM - Jan 2014 - SCAMwatch warning to smartphone and tablet users

SCAMwatch is warning consumers to beware of scammers targeting their smartphones and tablet devices with the computer virus scam.

This scam has caught out many Australians in recent years, with victims receiving a call out of the blue from a ‘technical specialist’ claiming that their computer has a virus. The caller convinces the victim to provide them with remote access to their computer, claims that their security has been compromised, and then offers to fix it on the spot – for a fee.

In a new twist, scammers are claiming to be able to fix similar viruses on people’s smartphones or tablets. As with the previous version, the scammer will ask you to grant them remote access to your computer, however they will also ask you to connect your mobile device to the computer so that they can access the device through it.

Don’t let your guard drop by a sense of urgency – these scammers are well-versed at applying high pressure sales tactics to incite fear and anxiety that your device has been compromised and must be fixed immediately. In fact, the only way that you risk your device’s security is by providing access in the first place. If you hand over your money, your device will not receive the promised protection.

Ask yourself: why would a business call and offer to fix your computer unless you contacted them in the first place? If you store personal information on your phone, tablet or computer, keep it out of the hands of scammers – never provide remote access to a stranger.

How the scam works:-

  • You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a technical support specialist, who informs you that your computer, smartphone or tablet has been compromised by malicious software.
  • The caller may claim to represent a reputable business such as Microsoft, Windows, Telstra or Bigpond.
  • They may also sound like an expert as they use technical jargon.
  • The ‘technician’ will ask you to provide them with remote access to your computer so that they can run a scan.
  • If they claim the virus is on your smartphone or tablet, they will ask you to connect the device to your computer so that they can access the device through it.
  • If you provide them with access, they will claim that the scan has indeed detected a virus, and any information stored on the device has been compromised.
  • The ‘technician’ will then claim that they can restore your computer’s security on the spot – for a fee. They will offer to install anti-virus software on to your device for a one-off payment that typically ranges from $100 to $300.
  • If you hesitate to agree, the caller will be very persistent and try to evoke a sense of urgency by claiming that anything could happen to your device if you don’t fix it now.
  • To pay, they will ask for your credit card or banking details, or to transfer them money.
  • If you provide remote access to the caller, only then are your compromising your device and personal information. If you hand over your money, your device will never receive the promised security software.

Protect yourself

  • If you receive a phone call from someone claiming there is something wrong with your computer or mobile device’s security, just hang up.
  • Never give a stranger remote access to your mobile device or computer.
  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you initiated the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Make sure your computer is protected with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall - but only purchase the software from a source that you know and trust.
  • If you think your mobile device or computer’s security has been compromised, seek out help or advice from a qualified and reputable technician.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.


SCAM - Nov 2013 - Subject: Dear Pcug User, - From: Pcug Administrator

The following scam is being sent to members circa November 2013. Note

  • the actual from address is a brazilian account! alexandre@dilk.com.br
  • PCUG members are not specifically addressed in the To address
  • the supplied link is not part of the PCUG website
  • the grammar is woeful!

Do NOT follow the link and provide requested details!

From: Pcug Administrator [1]
Sent: Tuesday, 19 November 2013 2:25 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Dear Pcug User,

Dear Pcug User,

A phish attempt, banned phrase or sensitive information was detected in a message sent to you and the original message has been quarantined. 
This message is a copy of the original with the content replaced with this text. The subject line and sender information has been unaltered from the original.
Please you are to re-validate your pcug.org.au email address immediately.
Please copy and paste the link on you web Browser or click on the link then fill and submit.

http://pcug.form2go.com/125479.html

Thanks.
Help Desk

SCAM - Sep 2013 - No Subject - PCUG Network Manager

The following scam is being sent to members circa September 2013. Note the actual from address is a gmail account!: sb.netwrk@gmail.com

Do not open the PDF attachment!

 From: PCUG Network Manager <sb.netwrk@gmail.com>
 To: undisclosed-recipients:;
 Subject: 
 
 In order to comply with PCUG Corporate Policy, it is your responsibility to validate the mailbox ownership and review the access rights due to 
 unauthorized access to your account by spammers. 
 modifications to the permissions are required, please complete the Department Mailbox Request  Form by viewing the enclosed attachment 
 and follow instruction therein. 
 
 Regards, 
 
 PCUG Network Manager 
 Production Security Compliance 

SCAM - Jul 2013 - Your mailbox is nearly over its size limit

The following scam is being sent to members circa July 2013. Note the actual reply email address is in Thailand despite what the "text" name says!

 From: support@pcug.org.au [mailto:helpsupport@admin.in.th]
 To: XXX@pcug.org.au
 Subject: Your mailbox is nearly over its size limit
 
 Your mailbox has exceeded one or more size limits set by your administrator,
 we have decided to run a database clean-up and refresh your mailbox.
 
 please provide the below credentials :
 
 Email Address:
 Username :
 Password:
 Confirm Password:
 
 System Administrator

See Also

  • Spam - for details on spam messages, which are often used in scams
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