Receiving an invoice in the mail or your inbox is never fun. No one enjoys paying bills. But when that "invoice" is actually a phishing scam, you could wind up paying for it for years.
One of the most popular email newsletter services out there was recently targeted by hackers. You've probably heard of MailChimp before. It's used by many small businesses to send email newsletters out to subscribers. But hackers found a way to use some of MailChimp's email lists to send out phishing emails that are actually spreading malware.
Note: Komando.com does not use MailChimp to distribute our daily and weekly newsletters, so you can click on our newsletters without ever worrying. In fact, share our newsletters with your family and friends, and recommend that they subscribe! We aim to keep you informed of the biggest online security issues so that you won't become the next victim.
Reports of fake invoices began surfacing this week, and they appear to be linked to a news site in Australia called Business News Australia. The emails read "Here's your invoice! We appreciate your prompt payment."
The frightening part is that the emails also appear to have been sent from one of the news websites administrator accounts. When recipients of the email click the "View Invoice" button contained inside, they're directed to a .zip file that contains malware.
It's a dirty trick, and it's so easy to fall for. But luckily, we do have some details about this fake email that will help you identify it in your inbox (and delete it) before you accidentally click on the malicious link.
According to a statement released by Business News Australia, a particular invoice number is being used for these fake emails.
"This morning our MailChimp subscriber database was hacked and a fake invoice (Inoice 00317) [sic] was sent to our list," the statement reads. "Please disregard and delete this email. You have not been charged. We are investigating how this happened and are working to make sure it does not happen again."
One important thing to point out here is that Invoice 00317 is actually spelled incorrectly (Inoice 00317). This appears to be how the message appears in users' inboxes, so that's one clear red flag.
Beyond Business News Australia, another company has also experienced similar issues. Subscribers to a site called Sit Down Comedy Club have shared similar invoice emails with the same subject line.
Sit Down Comedy Club has also released a statement informing subscribers that the email is a scam.
What steps should you take?
If you come across this email in your inbox, you should delete it immediately. However, it's important to note that the information we have available may not describe the full scope of the scam. Scammers could easily change the invoice number, or the appearance of the email now that reports of the problem are going out.
For this reason, you should be extremely cautious with any email that seems to be luring you into clicking something without providing much information on it. If you see an email claiming you owe payment for something you don't recognize, it's best to contact that company separately to see if it's legitimate. Test your phishing IQ, and see if you can spot a fake email by taking our quiz.