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Warning from ASIC - large-scale email scam

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

One of the largest scale email scams reported by MailGuard was distributed to thousands of Australian inboxes. Claiming to be from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the email included a downloadable file-encryption script that delivered a malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. 

While the email appears to enter inboxes from ‘ASIC Messaging Service’, it was actually sent from a domain registered in China on the same day. It informs recipients their company name requires renewal and instructs them to click a link. 

This is the second major fraudulent email said to be from ASIC in recent times. MailGuard identified a similar scam in late-January. There were some obvious signs that this email was not from ASIC. This was evident by:

  • A government coat of arms and ASIC logo and appears to contain a fake email signature attributed to ‘Max Morgan, Senior Executive Leader’ at ASIC. No such employee appears to exist at the commission.
  • Recipients’ are advised to email bncancel@asic.gov.au, to confirm their business doesn’t require registration which is the real cancellation address provided by ASIC. 
The ASIC website advises a number of indicators about the severity of email scams and what to do to stay prepared and informed. 

Warning signs the email is not from ASIC 

  • An email is probably a scam and is not from ASIC if it asks you: 
  • to make a payment over the phone. to make a payment to receive a refund. 
  • for your credit card or bank details directly by email or phone. 

If you are unsure if the email is from ASIC 

How to avoid email scams in the future 

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date. 
  • Be wary of emails that don't address you by name or misspell your details. 
  • Be wary of unknown attachments. 
  • Don't click any links on a suspicious email. In other warning signs, the correspondence is general in nature and doesn’t address recipients by name. 

If you think you might have accidentally paid funds to a scam or provided your personal details, please contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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