What could be worse than seeing these menacing messages across your screen? Don’t fall for it!
The odds are that these pop-ups are an example of phishing, an attempt to trick you into revealing personal or financial information. These warning messages are prevalent in the world of Email, Tech Support & other Online Scams. They appear to offer help when something goes wrong with your devices or when you need any tech-related assistance. But falling for these scams can certainly put your devices, data, and money at a greater risk.
Although email scams have been around as long as the Internet, sending fraudulent invoices scams have lately skyrocketed. Hackers are tricking individuals into clicking the links attached in the mail to cancel or manage subscriptions or asking people to call back and get the charges canceled, for services/products they hadn’t even ordered or paid for. The counterfeit invoices are usually pretty convincing and even the most skeptical ones can be fooled & think the email is sent from a legitimate correspondence.
According to ACCC’s Targeting Scams Report, Fake & Fraudulent invoices caused the highest losses across all types and kinds of scams in 2019, costing companies over $132 Million.
We’ve rounded up some of the recent Fake Invoices Email Scams to make it easier for you to spot when you are being scammed.
SCENARIO – 1
“Over the past month, several individuals reported receiving phishing emails claiming to be the official Windows Defender Support Team. The email was a duplicate of the authentic Microsoft Email, it had the company’s logo on the invoice, which made it difficult to recognize whether it was legitimate or fake.” Below is an example:
What Exactly Happened?
The message states that “Thank you for your recent order with us, if you have any queries or want to return this order, please call at toll-free number: 1(800)-588-0612. Thank You. Chief Executive Officer. Johnson, Kevin”
If you are not cautious enough about recent attacks or breaches, you might want to call the number and check it out. As soon as you get connected with the person on the other side of the phone, you are trapped. The scammer says they’ll cancel the order but they need to log into your computer to complete the process. If you are someone who’s unlikely to verify the purchase or in a panicky state, you may give the details and that’s where you lose all your personal, confidential, and financial details stored on your device.
SCENARIO – 2
“Similar attempts have been made & it has come to the attention of Systweak Software, that fraudulent attempts are making rounds in different locations to acquire information or request payment on the behalf of the organization. Although seemingly legitimate, these fake invoices emails bear no connection with Systweak or any of our Services or Products.”
What Exactly Happened?
The message arrives from an unknown sender. The body message claims to provide a “Tech Support Plan called Systweak Pro and informs you about your account being debited in the amount of $999.99. The email further states that the order has been shipped through E-Delivery and the product is activated for 3 years. If you want to cancel your purchase, contact on the number +1 (1800) 588 0612.”
The email message also shows the Order Information, Billing Details, Shipping Method, and more that makes the email look like an authentic one.
Quick Fact: Systweak DOESN’T HAVE any product or service with the name Systweak Pro.
Several users are complaining about similar instances for receiving fake invoices by popular software development companies like Systweak, AT&T & iObit. Here’s what we found out:
You can read the full story here: Debunking Statement For Fake Support Plans By The Name Of Systweak Pro
Received A Similar Email From Systweak? Here’s What You Need To Know?
1. Official Systweak Support Is FREE For Current Subscribers
You can drop a mail at [email protected] to get help & assistance from professionals.
2. The Official Systweak Support Page Is www.systweak.com/systweak-support
Additionally, you can send general queries related to the company’s products at [email protected]
3. Systweak Never Sends An Unsolicited Email Or Call To Fix Issues Related To Your Devices
You will only receive assistance if you request it. The Official Systweak Support Team never asks for your details or money to get help.
“Another popular technique used by hackers is fraud refund & return emails scams, where individuals are tricked by messages like ‘You were double charged for your last order, a refund process was initiated but could not be completed due to errors. So, you are required to provide us with a valid billing address’. Or ‘Your parcel has been returned due to no communication from your end. To get a refund, you need to verify your bank details.’
Users who got tricked, eventually end up revealing lots of personal and financial details like Credit Card Numbers and more.”
Phishing Attackers believe that users would have a hard time spotting fake bills and invoices, which is why they are increasingly using them as part of their mass mailings scams. Hence, you need to learn how these fake invoice scams work & what you can do to avoid being scammed.
How Do Fake Invoices Scam Work?
Typically, these scams work in three steps:
STEP 1- The Initial Bait
Apart from fake invoices emails that ask you to call if you want to cancel a subscription and get your money back. You can also receive emails that ask for an urgent payment or threaten serious consequences if payment is not made. You may get an email claiming that you own a refund because you haven’t used a service for a while. They give contact information so that you can get the refund or make the necessary payments.
STEP 2- Scammers Enter Into Your Device
If you follow up on the email or make a call on the respective number mentioned in the mail, you’ll get connected with the ‘Support Team’, disguising from a reputed company like Apple, Microsoft, or other software development organization. To complete the further process, they’ll prompt you to install remote-control software so that they can get access to your device. They will further ask you to log into your bank so that they can cancel the subscription or process the refund.
Again, this raises major security concerns. You should NEVER allow anyone to get connected to your device remotely and then expect them to be trustworthy.
STEP 3- The Fake ‘Help’/’Refund’
Now that scammers have tricked you completely, they will pull their main tactic. They can either persuade you to purchase their plan rather than canceling it or give significant discounts for products/services you haven’t bought in the first place.
Alternatively, they can use the feature of remote-control software to black out your screen & say it’s appearing for a ‘secure connection’ purpose, which is complete nonsense. While you can’t see what’s happening on your screen, the promise of ‘sending a refund or giving technical-assistance’, they are deceiving you instead.
|IMPORTANT: If a legitimate company was sending you a refund or giving support for service/product, they don’t need to get remote access to your computer or you to be logged into your bank to complete the process!
Which Numbers Do The Scammers Call From?
Thousands of phone numbers are used by hackers to disguise phone calls & get reported to the National Cyber Security Center. These numbers usually begin from +35840…, +35845… or 09.
How Can You Avoid Being Scammed?
Scammers like to take advantage of reputed brands. They pretend to represent well-known software companies & trap you into revealing personal & financial data. If you’ve received such emails, do the following:
1. DO NOT CLICK On Any Link & NEVER CALL On Any Number Mentioned In The Email
The first step, never click on suspicious links or call on the number cited in the mail. You’ll not realize but you might end up revealing your personal & confidential data.
2. Contact Your Bank Immediately
To verify all your transactions, you must contact your Bank immediately and notify them about the unauthorized operation done from your account.
3. Contact Official Support Team
Always err on the side of safety, so contact the Support Team from the official website of the company, you’ve received a mail from.
4. Be Alert & Keep Patience
If you’ve never purchased a service or product online, you don’t need to worry about receiving such scam emails. Consider reporting it and deleting such emails.
5. Be Cautious About Clicking Suspicious Links & Opening Attachments
As we discussed the scammer could pretend to be a tech expert or representative from a reputable company & send malicious links. So, you should look for the warning signs that may portray that it’s likely a fake email.
WARNING SIGNS = How To Tell If An Email Is Fake?
- The tone, grammar & language isn’t appropriate.
- You haven’t ordered the service that the sender is billing you for. Stay vigilant!
- The sender is requesting you to take an ‘urgent’ or ‘immediate’ action related to the payment or clicking on a link.
- The email content looks like it is translated from a foreign language.
- The sender’s email address looks suspicious.
- It displays as a ‘Confidential’ or ‘Private’ request.
- You can see the warning from your email provider stating that the sender’s address isn’t 100% secure.
6. Run A Scan With A Reliable Security Tool To Ensure Your Computer Is Not Infected
There are a variety of antivirus & computer security solutions available in the market that you can use to safeguard your system from getting infected by viruses & other threats.
7. File A Complaint With The Appropriate Authority
How To Report Fake Invoice Emails To FTC?
- Go to the official website of FTC.
- Hit the option ‘Robocalls, Unwanted Telemarketing, Text or SPAM’.
- You need to select SPAM: Unsolicited or Fraudulent e-mails’.
- Follow and complete the on-screen instructions.
FTC will review your complaint and take necessary actions accordingly. Remember, the entire process can be time-taking and you might not have the opportunity to claim compensation every time.
MESSAGE FROM SYSTWEAK SUPPORT TEAM
We have NOT sent these kinds of emails. Please note that this is a common scam that has been imitating and impersonating our company Systweak.
Please rest assured that you have not been billed by Systweak Software for anything with regards to this email and this email is a phishing email sent by a scammer.
We would still request you to keep a watch on your accounts for any unauthorized charges and inform your bank immediately, in case you find anything suspicious.
The scammer has sent this FAKE invoice to you, expecting you to call the number that is mentioned in the email. Once you call, the scammer may try to charge money at that time.
Other people received such emails, where these scammers imitated and impersonated other reputed companies like AT&T and IOBIT.
Popular forums like reportedcalls.com & shouldianswer.com are filled with complaints related to such fake invoices email scam:
We are currently fighting with these scammers and we would request you to kindly send the Header details of this email, if possible.
Here are the instructions to extract Headers for many common applications –
Your assistance in this matter may help us in our attempt to “stop these scammers” from cheating other unsuspecting users.
Do let us know if you require any further assistance in the matter.
We will be happy to help you!