Hitting our inboxes this morning was the below email claiming to be from Virgin Media notifying us of a hefty bill of £492.26.
Alarm bells were ringing straight away. Despite the design and layout looking very convincing, there was no customer name on the email. The from email showed that it came from some domain called smebusinesslink.com, which was registered only a handful of days ago. Oh, and we’re not Virgin Media customers.
So, some pretty compelling red flags warning us that this isn’t a legitimate email from Virgin Media.
However, this scam email was missing one important component that we would expect to see in a scam email. A scam.
That’s right. This scam email didn’t seem to be trying to scam us. There was no attachment (or no instructions to open an attachment.) There were no instructions to click a link in the email (and the three links that were present in the email all led to the real VirginMedia.com website with no sneaky redirects.) And finally, the phone number on the email did indeed connect us to the very real Virgin Media call centre.
Well. That’s a little weird. After all, why go to the trouble of sending out [presumably] thousands of fake emails if there is nothing in it for you? We really did scour the email from top to bottom and couldn’t find out how we were supposed to be scammed.
The best we could come up with is that perhaps the scammers were hoping recipients would hit the Reply option, in which case they would have ended up replying to the scammer? But there was nothing on the email asking users to reply to the email, instead there were instruction that (actually did) put you into contact with Virgin Media. We wouldn’t imagine many recipients would have replied directly, since companies rarely allow you to do that anyway.
Or perhaps the scammers just forgot to change a link or add an attachment and unwittingly let a perfectly safe fake email out into the wild?
What do you think? Let us know.