Should I Be Concerned with This E-Mail?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by JPM42, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. JPM42 macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2007
    So I got a somewhat disturbing e-mail this morning, with this person claiming they received a letter from someone saying that I convinced them to transfer funds to my PayPal for fake reasons (which is not true). They say that this person is collecting personal information on me and is planning on going to the police. They attached a password protected Word document with information which has been collected. This person wants me to contact them, hoping that this is all a mistake.

    Normally, I would delete this and move on. But what's weird is that they included an old address of mine with my full name, which concerned me. Because of that, while I'd normally not do this, I tried to open the document on my iPhone in Pages, and after typing in the password, nothing worked. So I'm wondering:

    1. Should I be concerned about this e-mail or blow this off? How were they able to get this old address? Do I have any recourse? This e-mail address of the sender goes to some company in India.

    2. Even though I never open these documents, the fact that I opened this document on my iPhone should keep me somewhat safe from any infections this document might have contained, right?

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Sound like some sort of scam.

    Google yourself, you'll be surprised how much info is out there.
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two

    Also, obtaining a public records file about you can be less than $20 purchased online. Those things collect what is defacto public information.

    That said, it's not very hard to get someone else's email.

    I know of two people who share my last name. One of them shares my first name, but spells it differently and the other shares the first letter of my first name.

    Because of that my email account that I've held since 1999 has periodically been inundated with people thinking I am one or the other of these persons. At one point I ended up with a door code for a Las Vegas trip by friends of one of these people. And at another point I was receiving the other guys billing information for Comcast. I called his wife, who had no idea.

    Real easy to get a hold of personal information.
  4. OriginalAppleGuy macrumors 6502a


    Sep 25, 2016
    Chance are the Word document contained a macro that would steal your information. Unless it was written to exploit iOS, you are probably safe. Don't do that on a Windows PC though, almost guaranteed to be hit then.

    I agree with the others, your street addresses are fairly easy to get even without paying a fee. Delete and let it go.
  5. Analog Kid, Mar 27, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017

    Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    Have you done anything wrong? If not, blow it off and tell your story to the police if someone with a badge shows up.

    Don't open that document. "The police are coming" is becoming a more common scam to motivate people to make irrational decisions.

    I'm curious though-- were they stupid enough to put the document password in the email with the document? Don't open it no matter how the password was passed to you, but if they put it in the email then you know full well they're not trying to protect any information stored in that Word file-- they're just trying to give the appearance of seriousness.

    Opening in Pages on an iPhone is probably pretty safe (they were almost certainly expecting you to open it in Word on a PC), but given the specificity of the attack I'd be tempted to do a wipe and restore...
  6. JPM42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2007
    Thanks, everyone. You confirmed my suspicions; I guess the specificity of this is what made me concerned. Definitely a first for me.

    I actually deleted and re-installed Pages after trying to view the document (it was actually a .dot file, not .doc, as I thought), but I think to be safe, I'll do a restore.

    Thanks again!
  7. JPM42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2007
    Actually, after researching (and correct me if I'm wrong), but it appears iOS (at least Mail and Pages, anyway) doesn't support .dot files.

    So in theory, there should be no reason to restore, correct? Or is it still a good idea?
  8. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    Rename the document something like "Proof it isn't me" and email it back to the scammers and let them open it :).
  9. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    .dot files are usually Microsoft Word template files. They can still contain macros or other malicious code/exploits.
  10. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    do it if it'll ease your mind.

    The bottom line is that you should always ignore anything like that, even if you think it's legit. Even if it is legit then they should still screw off until they can make you do something. Until then, not your problem.
  11. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Another one to watch for is fake "tracking information". It's effective because we all receive and ship packages. I got one of those masquerading as a USPS email. The "link" was actually an exec file that may have released something bad if I was on a PC.
  12. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    Forget $10, family tree websites have much of the same info free of charge.


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