6th Jun 2016

AGL email scam hits more than 10,000 Australians

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Amelia Theodorakis

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.

Read more at smh.com.au.

Related articles:
Antivirus software – free vs paid
Six scams to watch out for in 2016
New scam aimed at pensioners





COMMENTS

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7th Jun 2016
10:42am
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
Paulodapotter
7th Jun 2016
12:53pm
That was dumb, Robbo. Surely the account number was different to yours?
MICK
7th Jun 2016
4:10pm
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.
Anonymous
7th Jun 2016
4:14pm
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,
bobbalinda
7th Jun 2016
11:04am
Received this in my junk mail this morning and promptly deleted it. Just looked at the address of the sender.
MICK
7th Jun 2016
4:10pm
Yeah, most junk mail is just that.
Mamacrystal
7th Jun 2016
11:50am
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
MICK
7th Jun 2016
4:11pm
I am on the brink of signing up with Powershop Mama. Were your bills in the same ball park after you changed?
Mamacrystal
7th Jun 2016
5:43pm
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 :)....not going back to the dirty coal burners. My daughter changes too and is quite happy.
Dallas1955
9th Jun 2016
9:54am
I would use powershop if I wasn't going to lose my 66 cent solar rebate
Paulodapotter
7th Jun 2016
12:52pm
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.
KSS
7th Jun 2016
2:33pm
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!
MICK
7th Jun 2016
4:12pm
There is a God KSS. Chuckle.....
Graeme
7th Jun 2016
3:08pm
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.
Dallas1955
9th Jun 2016
9:51am
One of my workmates opened the email and clicked the link. We had to shut down the whole system.
Alipal
10th Jun 2016
7:11pm
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..
ex PS
7th Nov 2016
9:20pm
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?


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