AGL email scam hits more than 10,000 Australians

Font Size:

Australians have been warned to stay on the lookout for a malicious email scam that has already tricked more than 10,000 people since it was detected last week.

The scam, designed to look like an AGL Energy bill, was emailed to recipients’ computers with a prompt to click on a link and download a copy. This saved as a .zip file onto the computer which, when opened, released malware (in the form of a virus or ransomware) onto the computer to hold it ‘hostage’.

Victims of the scam were forced to pay $US640 ($AU880) to gain back access to their computers.

The fake email was sent to a number of companies across Australia in hopes of flooding the emails of workers and becoming widespread within as many organisations as possible.

So, how can you guard against this scam?

Raymond Schippers?, a senior analyst at global cybersecurity firm Check Point, suggests Australians be especially watchful for any suspicious-looking emails.

“Realistically, if you open it on your iPhone and it says ‘this doesn’t work on an iPhone’, it probably isn’t a real website,” Mr Schippers said. “All the websites from all Australian utilities work on phones these days.”

“The .zip file is another indication that it’s not usually a bill either. They usually don’t send bills as .zip files, they’ll send them as .pdf or something similar.”

AGL Energy acknowledged the scam and said it had reported it to the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Government’s Scamwatch website as soon as it was alerted.

In a statement, AGL urged customers, who suspected they might have received the email, to delete it immediately without clicking any links, add the sender to their junk email list and run antivirus software on their computer.


Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Six scams to watch out for in 2016

Keep an eye out for the latest scams to stay safe.

New scam aimed at pensioners

The ACCC has issued a warning of a new scam primarily aimed at pensioners.

Written by ameliath


Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    Had one today I didn”t pick it but luckily My computer wouldn”t open the file.
    You can generally pick it up by the account number check your old number if it is different it almost certainly a scam

    • 0

      That was dumb, Robbo. Surely the account number was different to yours?

    • 0

      Not surprised that you are an AGL customer robbo. AGL is a dirty coal generator.
      I fail to understand why internet protection software does not protect consumers. Will have to check that out and suggest all readers do so with their ISPs and their internet protection provider.

    • 0

      I can get a good deal from them Mick but not knowing my account number threw me as I was about due for a bill and the Bill looked genuine however my software prevented me from downloading it I was lucky,

  2. 0

    Received this in my junk mail this morning and promptly deleted it. Just looked at the address of the sender.

  3. 0

    I don’t use AGL so it would be “junked”…. I have been using Powershop for some time now and recommend it to anyone living in NSW or Vic

    • 0

      I am on the brink of signing up with Powershop Mama. Were your bills in the same ball park after you changed?

    • 0

      Much better Mick…I do have some solar panels….. never seemed to get much credit from Origin who I was with before. With Powershop you can buy blocks of power in advance at savings. I like getting green power :)….
      ot going back to the dirty coal burners. My daughter changes too and is quite happy.

    • 0

      I would use powershop if I wasn’t going to lose my 66 cent solar rebate

  4. 0

    Just got one of those bogus AGL emails. Only those who can’t help themselves from pushing a red button to see what would happen would fall for such a stupid email. If you push that button, you deserve all you get because, unless the account number provided actually is the same number as yours as an AGL client, then you have no excuse for falling for that trap.

  5. 0

    Add PayPal, Westpak, ebay, iTunes, and Apple to the list. I have received the same or similar e-mails from all of these ‘companies’ this week alone! All easily identified as scams (perhaps because I don’t have accounts with most of them and where I do I have not used them!) due to the usual poorly worded content, the fact that these companies do not ask for personal details in emails and that warnings have been around since God was a boy!

  6. 0

    A decent antivirus should save you, having just switched to AGL and not knowing their format I actually clicked on it, (this was over a week ago). Avast antivirus screamed blue murder and I proceeded no further.

  7. 0

    One of my workmates opened the email and clicked the link. We had to shut down the whole system.

  8. 0

    Have had it twice, but left well alone. My husband is regularly inundated with “prizes” he has won. There’s another short trip to purgatory which we haven’t ever taken, thank goodness..

  9. 0

    I actually received several phone calls claiming to be a collection agency working for AGL, as I don’t deal with that company and I certainly would not have unpaid bills, I just hung up.
    Am I the only one who got a phone call?



continue reading

Health news

Doctors call for convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg's release

A group of 90 expert scientists and doctors is calling for convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg to be pardoned in...


Adorable celebrity pets

Just like the rest of us, Hollywood's A-listers are pretty obsessed with their pets, especially when it comes to sharing...

Health news

Who needs a colonoscopy most? Ensuring those at risk head the queue

Professor Jon Emery Mary was 55 when she started having on and off tummy pains, and noticed she needed to...

Health & Ageing

What stress does to your skin, hair and nails

Stress can be an all-consuming beast. Not only does it overwhelm your brain, but it can have a physical impact,...


Multi-generational family living grows, forcing design changes

The trend towards multi-generational living, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is producing fresh approaches to Australian housing. Urban designer Craig...

Seniors Finance

Your retirement 'pay cheque'

Nothing beats the reassurance of knowing there's money coming in each month. Then retirement happens and, suddenly, it's up to...

Health news

Scientists closer to developing a vaccine for urinary tract infections

Anyone who has ever developed a urinary tract infection (UTI) knows that it can be painful, pesky and persistent, but...


Alarming spike in elder abuse during pandemic

A frightening rise in elder abuse during the pandemic is being reported across Australia. And some of the perpetrators are...