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IRS related scams are not all the same

IRS related scams are not all the same Posted by on Mar 2, 2016

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IRS related scams are not all the same

IRS related scams are not all the same Posted by on Mar 2, 2016

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Signed CryptoWall Distributed via Widespread Malvertising Campaign...

Signed CryptoWall Distributed via Widespread Malvertising Campaign Posted by on Sep 28, 2014

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The Big Business of Spam: Adulterers beware, scammers may be targeting you...

The Big Business of Spam: Adulterers beware, scammers may be targeting you Posted by on Sep 16, 2015

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The Twitter Underground Economy: A Blooming Business...

The Twitter Underground Economy: A Blooming Business Posted by on Aug 3, 2012

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Super Bowl Presents Super Opportunity for Spammers...

Super Bowl Presents Super Opportunity for Spammers Posted by on Feb 5, 2016

Recent Posts

The Big Business of Spam: Open Enrollment Signals Open Season for Spammers

Spam is big business all year long, and it never goes out of season.  Unfortunately, spammers do kick things into high gear during the fall.  This is when people are buying gifts, thinking about how to get money to buy gifts, or opening holiday E-Cards that aren’t really from friendly people.  Spam tends to increase during this time, just because there’s more opportunity when people are in the holiday spirit. Fall is also the time of year when insurance companies allow businesses and individuals to adjust their health and life insurance coverage.  This is known as Open Enrollment, and spammers come out in force to try to take advantage of this well-known event. Barracuda Central, our 24×7 advanced security operations center, has detected an increase in health and life insurance spam over the last few weeks.  We have picked up several hundred examples of these emails since October. These particular spam messages use names of real insurance companies, such as AIG, Fidelity Life Insurance, and Medicare.  The messages have generic subject lines such as “Open Enrollment is here!” and “Now is the time to change your plan.” See Figure 1 for example. Figure 1These messages are particularly crafty and made to look as real as possible. Not only are the spammers using legitimate names of health and life insurance companies, they are also using images and wording that is close, and sometimes almost identical to the real advertisements from these entities. These “insurance” emails try their best to look convincing and lure the recipient to open them by promising a free quote for insurance plans (Figure 2). Some emails are so convincing, going so far as to even use the company name in the sending domain (Figure 3). Figure 2  Figure 3If the email is convincing enough and the recipient clicks on the false “free quote” link, they will notice their internet browser redirects a few times to sites that never fully load, the redirecting of the browser sometimes happens so rapidly that it...

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The Big Business of Spam: Online Dating Requests Through Email – Not So Fast

Meeting people online has never been easier, unfortunately for some people, falling for that perfect connection may not be the only thing they are falling for these days. Online dating scams are quickly becoming a likely possibility due to the giant audience attracted to online dating sites. It’s no secret that scammers target large audiences, and according to an article published on, there are currently over 40 million people trying to meet that special someone online. So, how can users avoid falling victim to an online dating scam without dumping the scene all together? One way is to remain aware that any email you receive regardless of the topic – could be a scam in disguise. For example, through Barracuda Central, the Barracuda Labs team recently flagged and dissected a series of factious emails from scammers attempting to impersonate a missed connection from a dating site. These scams are banking on the potential that the recipient has an online dating account in order to bait them into replying to an offsite message. This particular email scam suggests that the recipient email them directly so they can get to know each other, which is simply a tactic used in order to bypass spam filters. Here is one of the messages we came across: As you can see, this particular message is written poorly which should always raise a red flag, and if the recipient takes action and replies, the scammer’s sob story quickly follows in hopes to earn the trust of the victim. Eventually these communications will lead to a request for the victim to wire money, which will be withdrawn from their bank account immediately and into an offshore account – where a refund is far from likely. Not only will your wallet be empty, your heart may be broken along with it, and you’ll be well on your way to a number one hit on the county music charts. Not your idea of a good time? Fortunately, it might actually be easier...

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The Big Business of Spam: Adulterers beware, scammers may be targeting you

As you have probably heard by now, a group of hackers who call themselves The Impact Team recently breached the systems of Avid Life Media (ALM), and stole sensitive data from The group has since published a large cache of data that includes personal information from members of the site, and are making that data available online for download. To make the situation worse, opportunistic scammers are looking to capitalize on this unique opportunity for a financial gain of their own. To start, the scammers will send phishing emails suggesting that they have information on the recipient that will expose them as an AshleyMadison user. The scam methods they’re using are quite simple and common, yet highly effective when used as a scare tactic like this. Spammers often buy full lists of verified addresses (email addresses in this case) after a large breach, then target and attempt to solicit the users. Here’s how this particular scam works: An unsuspecting user will get an email titled – “Recent data leak, your details are there!” (image below) Once the user opens the email, they will see a note that implies that their personal information has been leaked along with the other 37 million people. At the end of the note, they are directed to click on a link that will direct them to a page that offers services from UnTraceMe. From there, they are directed to pay a fee of $19.95 to get their information secured and removed. (image below) After a spooked user agrees to pay the fee and clicks on the link provided, they are then directed to use a PayPal-like site to pay the fee and “secure their information.” (image below) What folks don’t know is that the leaked data can be retrieved by just about anyone, and will not disappear no matter what ransom is paid. At this time, Barracuda Labs has blocked over 1000 emails similar to the one imaged above, and depending on the monetary success that the spammers...

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The Big Business of Spam: Stay clear of these “too-hot-to-miss” sale opportunities from your Facebook Friends

We’ve previously warned about deals that are too good to be true ( – and with summer in full swing, the Barracuda Labs team has seen more and more false domains like (, and popping up in feeds and social media timelines. Our Labs team ran a background check on the domains and many of them appear to be registered in China, including the domain listed above. While browsing your Facebook or Twitter timelines, you may have come across “sponsored ads” that seem too good to be true. Most can be spotted immediately and swiftly ignored; however, you may have been tagged in a post or received a message on your personal timeline posted by a friend, directing you to a killer sale. See figure 1 for an example. Figure 1. The example above shows an ad for Ray Ban, a popular sunglass retailer whose classic sunglasses range from $155 to $200, that looks as though it was shared by a regular user or even a friend on Facebook. The ad targets unsuspecting consumers looking to score the name brand sunglasses for up to 80% off. Figure 2. The idea here, like any scam, is to entice unknowing consumers to jump on the hot deals and “buy” the Ray Ban’s at such low prices. Once the links are clicked on, the consumer is redirected to what looks like a legitimate discount website that is offering deals with up to 80% savings on multiple styles, see Figure 2 and Figure 3 for examples. Figure 3. The phisher hopes that the deal is too good for the consumer to pass up and engages in purchasing the product. Here, the phisher is hoping the consumer will enter their personal data like first and last name, emails address, personal home address and credit card information, to then flip and sell to third parties. It is always smart to use best practices when shopping online. Here are a few tips: Do a bit of research and go...

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