Fake MS Office Renewal Email Steals Money and User Data
Threat actors are once again phishing, this time by impersonating Microsoft Office 365 renewal notifications. There are two versions of this scam. Both varieties falsely inform the recipient that their Microsoft Office subscription Is expiring. and that they must pay to renew it immediately or pay a penalty.
This Microsoft Office renewal notification scam has two variations. One uses a spoof web page to harvest sensitive user data and credit card numbers. The second variation directs the victim to PayPal and asks them for payment to renew their Microsoft Office 365 account. In both cases of phishing scam, spotted by cyber security researchers at Abnormal Security, the victim loses money to the scammers.
The fake email appears to be a notification From Microsoft. The target is threatened with a financial penalty if they do not renew their Office 365 account right away. Like most phishing emails, the messaging attempts to scare the user into taking quick action without scrutinizing the contents of the email or the links it contains.
Sending fake invoices and requests for payments has been an increasing tactic for stealing money from both individuals and corporations. It’s easier and more lucrative than developing malware to steal money. Threat actors often attempt to steal email login credentials in order to gain access to business emails and acquire IT network access. People often reuse the same email and password combination across multiple accounts. So something seemingly innocent like a social media login can often give a threat actor the access they need to break into sensitive work information which jeopardizes your workplace security.
In the first version of this Microsoft Office renewal scam the target receives a phishing email that informs them that they must renew their Office 365 subscription. If the reader clicks on the links in the email, they are directed to a spoof web page that impersonates Microsoft. The website, HTTPX://office365family.com prompts the user for their address and payment card information. Any personal data or payment information Entered on this page is sent directly to the hackers.
Scam PayPal Link
The second variation of this phishing email also informs the target that their Microsoft Office account is expiring and that they must pay to renew it. The links in the phishing email direct the victim to the legitimate PayPal site. If the victim pays for their Microsoft Office renewal through these links, the money is again sent to the hackers.
This scheme Is a bit tricky because Microsoft does indeed accept PayPal as a form of payment. However, the company does not send links to PayPal in their renewal notifications. A PayPal payment option is only available on the checkout page the official Microsoft Office website.
Both variations of this email are sent from email service providers , not official a Microsoft domain name. They’re convincing because they attempt to trick the user with a sense of urgency and Microsoft Office is familiar to millions of subscribers.
All of the links in both emails are cloaked in an attempt to fool the reader.
How to Recognize a Phishing Scam
Most phishing emails contain messaging to scare the user into taking immediate action. Some phishing emails tend to blackmail the recipient threatening to expose embarrassing photos of them. Threat actors often use messaging asking the target to pay an invoice to avoid further action. Regardless of the tactic or messaging, the emails try to scare the reader into following their instructions without thinking.
- Phishing emails appear like they were sent from a company that you trust
- A phishing scam often threatens to suspend your account or add a financial penalty
- You may recognize a phishing scam because they often use generic greetings and do not address you by name
- Phishing emails may contain an attachment or prompt you to click on links to take action quickly