Can you spot the 6 signs of a scam?

We recently received an email that provided a great example
of the tools in a cyberscammer’s toolbelt. Here’s the email. Can you spot the
signs of a scam? Scroll down to read more.

Dear Account Owner

We are having congestion due to the
anonymous registration of free Windows Live Account therefore we are shutting
down some Windows Live Account. Your account is among those to be deleted, we
are sending you this email to enable you re-confirm your account details in
order to commence immediate upgrade of your account from being deleted. If you
have the interest of proceeding your account with us kindly re-confirm your
account by filling the space below after clicking the reply button. * Username:
…………………………………. * Password:
………………………………….. * Date of Birth:
………………………………. * Country Or Territory:
…………………….. After following the instructions in the sheet, your
account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your
attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences. Microsoft,
Windows Live Account Services Hotmail is part of Windows Live. * This assumes a
reasonable growth rate. Microsoft respects your privacy. To learn more, please
read our online Privacy Statement. For more information or for general
questions regarding your e-mail account, please visit Windows Live Hotmail
Help.Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399, USA ©
2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Six signs of a scam

for passwords and other personal information.
Most scams are designed to
trick people into turning over their passwords, user names, social security
numbers, or other personal information. You should never send this information in
an email message. For more information, see
How to
reduce the risk of online fraud.

2.       Use of the Microsoft name. Cybercriminals
often use the names of well-known companies, like Microsoft, to increase
legitimacy and convince you to release your personal information.  For
more information, see
Avoid scams
that use the Microsoft name fraudulently

3.       Threats that require you to take action.
In the scam above the cybercriminal claims that your account will be deleted if
you do not respond with your personal information. Microsoft does not send
threatening messages and will not ask for personal information in an email

4.       Use of real information about Microsoft.
The email above uses the correct Microsoft address and a link to the Microsoft
privacy statement. Don’t be fooled by these details or others such as Microsoft
logos or language you’ve seen on official Microsoft email.

grammar and misspellings.
Our copyeditors would never have allowed mistakes
like the ones in this email to pass their desks. For more information, see
How to
recognize phishing emails or links

6.       Generic greeting. Legitimate messages
are not often addressed to “Account Owner.”  If Microsoft needs to send you official
correspondence about your email account, for example, we will address you by
name. However, bear in mind that cybercriminals do have ways of getting your
name from your email address. Check for other signs of a scam, even if an email
is addressed directly to you.

If you think you might have been
a victim of a scam, see
What to do
if you’ve responded to a phishing scam


About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »