Keeping up with the latest phishing scams is absolutely vital when you’re running a business - and it’s pretty important outside of the office too, if you want to keep your tech secure. Phishers are always coming up with new and inventive ways to coerce you into giving them your cash - from sextortion to iTunes gift cards, no scam is too low.
Luckily, there’s always some great telltale signs that the email you’re reading is a fake - bad grammar, bad sentence structure, or even a bad storyline (find out about the ‘’assassin’’ that contacted us here). But recently something landed in our inbox that nearly had us fooled.
This email is one of the slickest scams we’ve seen in a while. From the graphics to the language, it’s obvious that a crafty phisher has spent some time on it. However, it’s still possible to see through the cracks - if you know where to look.
Spotify, is that you?
The wording of this phishing email is so good, we’re a little bit impressed. ‘We hate to be the bearer of bad news’ is very on brand for services like Spotify; casual and friendly, very unlike the phishing emails you might be used to.
The graphics are also pretty convincing; the Spotify logo, button and text are almost matching with the graphics from a real email from Spotify, as you can see from the two images below. These phishers have taken it to the next level, from the banner to the font size.
Real spotify email
Fake spotify email
Clearly, time has been spent on this phishing email so that you’re less inclined to look closely; everything in this email is intended to convince you that it’s your good friend Spotify, just letting you know that there’s a problem.
How can I possibly know which emails are real when the fake ones look this good?
Many of the usual indicators of a scam are noticeably absent from this email. There are none of the sneaky little typos often present in phishing emails. Often there’s a deadline involved, ‘reply within 48 hours’, ‘your account will be frozen in 24 hours’ to pressure you into clicking first and thinking later, but this email bears none of those hallmarks.
However, this email doesn’t manage to go under the radar entirely. If you check the sender, you’ll notice it isn’t @spotify, but @mypartytheme. We’re not sure which direction Spotify are currently taking their business, but we’re almost certain they aren’t branching out into party planning. The @ should be a huge red flag, because that @ should always be followed by the sender. If it’s followed by anything other than Spotify, then your email definitely isn’t from Spotify.
The other tried and tested technique in figuring out the legitimate emails from the forgeries is hovering other the links. For example, if you move your cursor over the ‘Confirm your account’ button in this email, you’ll notice it doesn’t send you to Spotify, but instead sends you to someone at 'My Party Theme'.
The important thing to remember is to never click a link in a phishing email. The best case scenario is that it’ll take you to a bogus web page to get you to put all your card details in. The worst case scenario is, clicking the link automatically downloads a ton of nasty malware onto your machine and your card details are snapped up anyway.
Any email that’s requesting you confirm your banking details, payment details or card details should be regarded with suspicion. If in doubt, head to the website yourself and check whether a payment has been declined recently.
What’s the point of pretending to be Spotify?
After a quick web search you can find a few comment threads about suspicious emails from Spotify. According to Spotify, they can’t even access card details and they are not viewable from personal accounts. However, a lot of people who have fallen victim to Spotify scams have found themselves down by $119.88 - the exact amount for a year long subscription to Spotify Premium.
We can only hazard a guess on what phishers might want with Spotify card details. Confirming your card details to a fraudulent person on the internet very rarely leads to anything good, and obviously, once they’ve got your digits they can spend away until you notice your savings rapidly depleting.
We suspect that your card details may be setup against new Spotify accounts, which are then sold on the dark web for a fraction of the annual subscription fees. This way, phishers are abandoning the account with another person’s card details on, leaving the buyer to take the fall (if it comes to that, of course). In addition, any debit to your card will come up as ‘Spotify’ on your bank statement - and you’re far less likely to flag that transaction as suspicious, letting the criminals get away scot-free.
Is there anything we can do about this, besides not get scammed ourselves?
Spotify say if you get a weird looking email, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Other than that, there’s not much any of us can do except stay one step ahead of the phishers, and be overly suspicious of every single email that arrives in our inbox.
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