Many software companies adopted a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model about a decade ago. Instead of making a one-time purchase for a program, it is sold at a monthly cost. The best example of this is when Microsoft changed the model for Office. Tap or click here for free alternatives to Microsoft Word.
It wasn’t long before others followed suit, including antivirus company Norton. You can get all the online protection the product offers while getting updates for a fixed monthly fee.
The provider will usually send you an email when your subscription runs out. But read on to see how scammers are tapping into this system to steal money.
Here’s the backstory
If you have a monthly subscription to Xbox Game Pass or Office 365, you probably won’t think it’s strange to receive an email from Microsoft. However, it would raise some questions if you don’t have a membership.
The same goes for Norton and its plethora of security products. But an old scam has again reared its head, trying to trick people into paying for their annual subscription, even if they don’t have one or it’s not due. The phishing emails have, unsurprisingly, nothing to do with Norton.
The scam has several variations, but all follow a similar trend. First, victims will receive an email from an unknown contact claiming that an “annual product membership” to a Norton product has been renewed.
The products often mentioned in the emails include:
- Norton Total Protection
- Norton Total All Round Security
- Norton 360
- Norton 360 Auto Edition
- Norton PC Life
- Norton Family All Device
- Norton LifeLock
Included in the official-looking invoice is a phone number that recipients can call for alleged refund and settlement issues. If your scam radar didn’t go off, you might be tempted to call and find out what’s happening.
What you can do about it
The best thing you can do when receiving an email like this is to block the sender and delete it. If you call the number, the person on the other end will often try to assist you. They will insist they need your banking details to verify the account and issue a refund. But this is all part of the scam.
Here are ways to outsmart scams like these:
- Avoid clicking links, downloading attachments or calling phone numbers found in unsolicited messages. If you’re unsure about a message or link, contact the company it supposedly originated from directly through its official website, or phone numbers you know are legit.
- Carefully inspect the email address of the suspicious message. In most of these fake Norton emails, the sender used a basic Gmail account, which should be the first indication that it is a scam.
- Norton is aware of the scam and set up a website where you can verify that an email that claims to be from the company is legitimate.
- Switch to the only antivirus software that Kim trusts, our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price.