Spot the Scam: COVID-19 Relief, Illinois Government, Venmo, Amazon SMS, and Netflix Email Scams

    COVID stimulus plan scam

    This week’s article will introduce 4 SMS scams and 1 phishing email in details, including the COVID-19 relief, Illinois government agency, Venmo, Amazon, and Netflix “account suspended” email scams. Did you see anything similar in your inbox? Check how these viral scams work and learn tips to avoid them:

    COVID-19 Relief Phishing Text Messages

    We have reported COVID-19 relief scams in which scammers pose as famous companies like Walmart and send you text messages with phishing links. They lure you into applying for the COVID relief program via the links.

    Scammers also like to impersonate government agencies, including the Congress and the Federal government. Here is an example:

    affected by covid-19? congress has finally agreed to the $900 billion stimulus plan to help americans and businesses to ease of coronavirus pandemic this includes student, business owners, self-employed workers, retired, disabled, independent contractors, and those with a limited work host who are out business or have significantly reduced their services as a direct result of the pandemic. to claim, go to <URL> after your claim, refer to our step-by-step claims process.

    If you click on the phishing link, you will be taken to a web page where you have to fill out a form and provide personal information. Scammers then collect all your sensitive data and use it for identity theft.

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    COVID-19 relief phishing page.

    The same tactics also apply to the other COVID relief scam cases, for example, fake American Rescue Plan Act 2021. Do not fall for them!

    Illinois Phishing Text Messages

    Recently we have spotted many fake text messages from the Illinois authorities that prompt you to click on a phishing link:

    • Illinois unemployment insurance claim
      Scammers falsely claim that you have to complete verification for your unemployeement insurance claim, asking you to click on the link in the message.
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    Illinois unemployment insurance claim phishing text message. Source: Reddit

    Your Illinois Unemployment Insurance Claim account is currently on hold for verification, Please complete your verification by following the instructions in the link below: to reactivate your account.

    • Illinois office secretary of state
      Scammers also pretend to be from the Driver Services Department of Illinois Office Secretary of State, trying to convince you that your driver’s license (DL) information is incorrect and that you have to make changes via the phishing link.
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    Illinois office secretary of state phishing text message. Source: Reddit

    Illinois office secretary of state: DL information seems to be missing or Incorrect. Follow steps:

    No matter which kind of tricks scammers use, you will be led to a fake Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) website. There you will have to enter login information and other personal information, such as your driver’s license number or Social Security Number. Scammers will record the credentials and use them for identity theft!

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    Fake Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) website. Source: Reddit

    Venmo Phishing Text Messages

    We have written about Venmo phishing scams in the form of text messages and emails, and now there are more cases. Scammers use different excuses to trick you into clicking on the phishing link in the messages, including lucky draw, deposit confirmation, or account security alerts. No matter what trick you fall into, you will be taken to either a fake Venmo page and have to submit login credentials, or an online survey page where, again, you have to enter personal information. What will happen next? As we have reminded you for so many times, scammers can hack into your Venmo account, transfer all the money away, or use the data you enter for identity theft.

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    Venmo phishing text message.
    • we randomly selected 15 Venmo users to give a $200 valued gift for being loyal customers <URL>
    • Venmo Deposit Confirmation: $100 Free gift for taking a quick survey <URL>
    • Thank you for being a Venmo user! You have been selected to receive a free gift worth at least $100 for a 2 minute survey <URL>
    • #Venmo – Your account has been frozen due to suspicius activity. Log in at <URL> to unfreeze your account.

    Amazon Survey Scam

    Yes, Amazon survey scams via text message are circulating widely. Posing as Amazon, scammers send text messages with phishing links and prompt you to click on them using various excuses. Here are some examples we have observed this week:

    1. Rewards and raffles

    • Amazon: Congratulations Jayson, you came in 3rd in today’s Amazon pods raffle! Click this link to : <URL>
    • You have $150 in cash value from Amazon expiring in 3 days.  now <URL>
    • Dear Amazon customer! Every year we select 4 loyal clients to get our $1OOO store credit! This time you are selected Robert 🎉 ! Claim it here:  <URL>
    • Good day Peter, we sent you an email regarding your Amazon Rewards. Here is what you can buy with it: <URL>

    2. Package deliveries

    • Delivered: Your Amazon package with Nair Hair Remover Bikini Cream, Sensitive Formula, 1.7OZ was delivered. More info at <URL>
    • Out For Delivery: Credit Card – Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card for ICICI Bank Account XX0001 is out for delivery today through Blue Dart Courier, AWB 3769050954. Track status at <URL>

    Once you click on the link, you will be taken to an online survey page and asked to enter sensitive personal information in the end, such as banking details. Scammers will use the data you provide to steal your money as well as your identity!

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    Amazon survey scam.
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    Amazon survey scam.

    Netflix “Account Suspended” Phishing Email

    We have seen many version of Netflix phishing scams, including fake free subscription text messages and Netflix auto payment verification scams. Recently the Netflix auto payment scams have gone viral again, slightly changed to fake “account suspended” notification emails.

    Scammers falsely claim that your Netflix account is suspended because they cannot process your payment. They instruct you to click on a phishing link to reactivate your Netflix account. However, all the sensitive data you enter will end up in scammers’ hands, for example, your banking details, credit card numbers, or even Netflix login credentials. With this information, scammers can take control over your bank and Netflix account, steal your money, and even commit other cybercrime like identity theft.

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    Netflix phishing email. Source: Reddit

    NETFLIX Your Netflix subscription suspended. Your grace period has expired. Your subscription has been suspended because we’re still unable to process your payment. We understand that Netflix is important to you, so we’re offering a one-time reactivation of your subscription for 1 days. If your payment issue isn’t resolved during this reactivation period, you won’t be able to use Netflix services. To reactivate your subscription, you need to follow the steps below:

    How to Protect Yourself

    • Double-check the sender’s mobile number/email address.
    • Reach out to the official website or customer support directly for help if you think there are issues with your account.
    • NEVER click links or attachments from unknown sources. Use Trend Micro Check to detect scams with ease!

    Send a link or a screenshot of suspicious text messages to Trend Micro Check on WhatsApp for immediate scam detection:

    Trend Micro Check is available on WhatsApp.

    Trend Micro Check is also available as a Chrome extension.
    It will block dangerous sites for you automatically:

    TMC Amazon Prime Day scam
    Trend Micro Check blocks dangerous sites for you automatically.

    Or download Trend Micro Maximum Security for a wider range of protection, including Web Threat Protection, Ransomware Protection, Anti-phishing and Anti-spam Protection, Privacy Scanner for Facebook and Twitter, Social Networking Protection, and Parental Controls. Click the button below to give it a try:

    Did you successfully spot the scams? Remember, always CHECK before your next move.
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