I was surprised to receive an email this week informing me that I had renewed my yearly subscription to McAfee Antivirus.
Why are you surprised? Well, I think the only time I ran a McAfee antivirus product on my computer was in the late 1990s, when the company I was working for at the time was bought by McAfee…
…and I certainly didn’t pay for it.
However, this email shows that $249.99 has already been deducted from my bank account (even to protect the two devices with “Anti-Theft” as well as antivirus). This seems expensive).
Here is the email I received:
Hmm… the weird McAfee logo made up of Unicode characters wasn’t the only reason this email raised my suspicions.
So what is actually going on here?
The email has no attachments. So it’s not like the email is trying to trick me into opening a malicious attachment.
And since there are no links, you can’t be tricked into entering your personal information and passwords into a phishing page.
Instead, this email is trying to scare me into calling. According to the email, if you want to cancel your subscription, you should immediately call McAfee’s cancellation department at the toll-free number provided.
Of course, the person answering the call is not a real McAfee employee. However, if I could call that number from the UK, I would be tricked into handing over personal financial information that would be used against me, I presume.
I didn’t call the number and if you get a similar message you shouldn’t call them. At the very least, check your bank account to see if anything was actually charged before you take any action to get your money back.
References: Kirk McElhearn and Joshua Long have gone much deeper than I have into what I believe to be a similar cybercriminal activity masquerading as an email from GeekSquad.Read what they discovered Intego blog post.