A slightly less common phishing scam this morning. On first glance this scam looks quite well done and could easily catch quite a few unwary recipients out.
The original email looks like this. It will NEVER be a genuine email from UK Government, Local council or any bank or credit card company so don’t ever follow the links or fill in the html ( webpage) form that comes attached to the email. No genuine refund email ever asks you to fill in the attached form.
From: City Council Service <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue 08/11/2016 04:35
Subject: [REMINDER] City council required attention
This is an auto-generated email to confirm your council tax refund: [redacted] URGENT-COUNCIL TAX REFUND HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS
Council Tax calculation for the year 7 November 2015 to 7 November 2016. You have paid too much tax.
Council Tax owes you 217.00 GBP.
You must apply online your unique linked attached document to complete your claim. If you claim online you could receive your refund within 3 to 5 days.
Once this process is complete, you will receive directly from Council Tax notification of the amount of any refund.
The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the Government Secure Intranet virus scanning service supplied by Cable&Wireless Worldwide in partnership with MessageLabs. (CCTM Certificate Number 2009/09/0052.) On leaving the GSi this email was certified virus free. Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes.
If you are unwise enough to open the attachment, you will see a webpage looking like this on your computer, asking for all sorts of details that they can use to steal your money. the submit form button should go to http://citycouncil.iseducation.org/index.php. I assume this is a hacked/ compromised site. The main domain iseducation.org isn’t anything to do with education at all but instead redirects to a rather scummy looking escort agency with pictures of part naked women allegedly based in Lancashire UK
Please read our How to protect yourselves page for simple, sensible advice on how to avoid being infected by this sort of socially engineered malware.
All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email or click the link in the email . Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day. Or whether it is a straight forward attempt, like this one, to steal your personal, bank, credit card or email and social networking log in details. Be very careful when unzipping them and make sure you have “show known file extensions enabled“, And then look carefully at the unzipped file. If it says .EXE then it is a problem and should not be run or opened.