"I Need a favor" and USPS Survey
One of our longtime readers received an email from an old friend he knows well. The man recognized his friend’s email address immediately but, when he clicked to "Reply" he noticed that his answer would have gone to a DIFFERENT email address at a website called macovn.net. A WHOIS lookup tells us that this domain was registered on August 12. Google sees it but knows nothing about it.
The friend writes “I need a favor from you…” If you Google the phrase “I need a favor from you” followed by “scam” you’ll find LOTS of websites describing this fraud. Our biggest concern for the TDS reader’s friend was that it was very likely his email account was hacked. The hacker probably contacted all of the person’s friends and relatives with the same pitch! (Using his contact list.)
Assuming that the man’s email account was hacked, he should immediately do the following:
1. Change the password to his email (AND on every other account to which he uses that same password)
2. Go through his email account settings to see if the criminal set up a backdoor to get back in or forward emails; this is often done as a forwarding address to send email updates/changes to and it will likely look SIMILAR to his existing email.
3. Put contacts on ALERT! Send an email to all contacts (friends/family) and inform them that they may have been contacted by someone pretending to be him and asking for money.
4. He should look through his deleted emails to see if anyone manipulated or tried to access other accounts because ALL ROADS lead back to email! If he finds any evidence that someone tried to access another account, he needs to respond accordingly. The criminals try to hide their tracks by deleting emails generated by their activity.
5. He should contact his bank, financial institutions, credit card companies, etc. and put them on alert for suspicious activity.
Dealing with a hacked email account can be a major headache! If, on the other hand, someone simply spoofed his email address to make it look like it came from his account, then he needs to do #3 above. Were it me, I would email the scam artist myself using the “Reply-to” address and put him on notice that all my friends and family have been warned!
NO ONE is immune to the malicious clickbait disguised as a quick survey to receive a reward or money. Not even the United States Postal Service! Check out this email that was sent from li3wajngadoh[.]com. This crap domain was registered in Panama anonymously on August 19. Congratulations! You’ve been selected to have your computer infected!
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