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Users at Citibank Attacked by a Massive Phishing Scam

Bogus email messages were sent to bank customers.

 

Scammers impersonating Citibank are now targeting customers in an online phishing campaign. Thousands of bogus email messages were sent to bank customers, according to Bitdefender's Antispam Lab, with the intent of collecting sensitive personal information and internet passwords. 

Responding to unusual activities or an unauthorized login attempt, the accounts have been placed on hold. As a result, the attackers claim all users should authenticate existing accounts as soon as possible to avoid a permanent ban.

According to Bitdefender's internal telemetry, these campaigns are focused primarily on the United States, with 81 percent of the phishing emails sent ending up in the mailboxes of American Citibank customers. However, it has also reached the United Kingdom (7 percent), South Korea (4 percent), and a small number have indeed made it to Canada, Ireland, India, and Germany. When it comes to the origins of these phishing attacks, 40% of the phoney emails appear to have come from the United States, while 13% came via IP addresses in Mexico. 

The cybercriminals behind the effort utilize email subject lines like "Account Confirm Confirmation Required," "Second Reminder: Your Account Is On Hold," and "Account Confirm Confirmation Required" to deceive Citibank clients into opening the emails. Other subject lines were, "Urgent: Account Confirmation Required," "Security Alert: Your Account Is On Hold," and "Urgent: Your Citi Account Is On Hold." 

Since some of the phishing emails in the campaign use the official Citibank logo to make them appear more real, the scammers who sent them did not take the time to correctly fake the sender's email address or repair any punctuation issues in the email body.

Citing phoney transactions or payments, and also questionable login attempts is another strategy used to create these phishing emails which appear to be from Citibank itself, to fool potential victims into authenticating actual accounts. When victims click the verify button, users are taken to a cloned version of the legitimate Citibank homepage. However, if a Citibank customer goes this far, fraudsters will steal the credentials and utilize them in future assaults. 

Bitdefender has discovered another large-scale phishing campaign that went live between February 11 and 15, 2022, offering victims the opportunity to seek cash compensation from the United Nations. The challenge in this situation is to identify the beneficiary as a scam victim, one of the 150 people who were declared eligible for a $5 million payout from Citibank. 

Banks rarely send SMS or email alerts to customers about critical account changes, thereby users can contact the bank and ask to speak to an agent if they receive a message which makes strong claims. Instead of calling the phone numbers included in the email, users should go to the bank's official website and look up the information on the contact page.
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