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AT&T Phishing Scam

Outline
Email purporting to be from AT&T claims that the recipient's account may be shut down if he or she does not verify the account by replying with username and password details.



Brief Analysis
The email is not from AT&T. In fact, the email is a phishing scam designed to trick AT&T users into sending their account login details to cybercriminals.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 20th December 2011
First published: 11th October 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Update Your AT&T Account Now!!!

Dear Member

This is for your own safety to avoid your account closed, you will have to verify your account by filling out your Login below by clicking the reply button. We apologies for any inconvenience.

User ID: .................................
Current Password: ................
Occupation: ..........................
Country OR Residence: .........
Date of Birth: .........................

After Following the instructions in the sheet, Your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.

Thank you
At&t Customer Care

Case number: 8971628
Property: Account Security

Screenshot of the scam email:

Phishing Scam Email


From: AT&T Mail Center
Subject: Account Verification

Due to the congestion in all att.net users and removal of all unused att Accounts,

Att would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Information below after clicking the reply button,

* Username...................... ......................
* Password: .............................. ............................
* Date of Birth: .............................. .........................
* Country Or Territory: .............................. ............

After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences.

Warning!!!: Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two days of receiving this warning stands the risk of losing his or her account permanently.




Detailed Analysis
This email, which purports to be from US telecommunications giant, AT&T, claims that "due to congestion" all unused AT&T accounts are set to be shut down. According to the message, users who wish to keep their accounts must verify them by replying with username and password details.

However, the email is not from AT&T and the claim that all unused accounts are about to be closed is untrue. In fact, the message is an attempt by criminals to trick users into divulging their account login details. Those who fall for the ruse and send the requested details will be effectively handing control of their AT&&T accounts to scammers. Once they have collected a victim's login details, the scammers can login to the compromised account, steal more personal information stored in the account's files and use the account to launch further scam and spam campaigns. Often, the scammers use the hijacked accounts to send typical "stranded in a foreign country" scam messages to people on the victim's contact list. Because the messages apparently come from a person that the recipients know, they may be more inclined to believe the scammer's story and send money as requested.

AT&T will never send you an unsolicited email that expects you to reply with sensitive information such as passwords. Nor will any other legitimate Internet or telecommunications company. This is a common scam that has targeted users of several high profile services, including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and Bigpond.

Some variants of the scam instruct recipients to follow a link which opens a bogus website form that asks them to submit account login details. Other variants include the bogus form in an attached file. If you receive one of these emails, do not reply. Do not open any attachments that the message may contain. Do not click any links in the email.

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References
Friend Stranded in Foreign Country Scam Emails
Gmail Account Phishing Scam
Yahoo Account Phishing Scam Email
Bigpond Database Upgrade Phishing Scam



Last updated: 20th December 2011
First published: 11th October 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer