It’s not just scams coming in through email or SMS you have to be concerned about. Now they’re coming in through your calendar, too.
Scammers are always looking to grab you and your money some way, and we’re all becoming a little too used to SMS and email scams, it seems. To deal with this, scammers are trying to ensnare victims on new vectors.
And your calendar is that new vector.
In what will come across as a bit of a fresh approach, scammers are now using your email and calendar to try and get you to click on phishing links, sending an email your way that you won’t see, but that your calendar will add to your list of events. Technically, the email is junk, but mail clients like Google Mail will see the calendar invite and automatically add the list of events to your calendar.
Unfortunately, that list of events is basically a scam, with every day revealing an identical scam, likely in a different language. Each link hides a URL meant to phish your details with, and curiosity could lead us to click on the URL.
So what does the Google Calendar Phishing Scam look like?
What does the Google Calendar Phishing Scam look like?
The variants of the Google Calendar Phishing Scam we’ve seen thus far see the scam show up in Eastern European languages. We’re seeing a pattern here, so much that we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Calendar Phishing Scam start to be known as the Russian Calendar Scam, because it can look like that.
However the scam tends to just show up in your calendar, and loads the same event every day for as much as the next two years.
The calendar events aren’t special, and each day includes the same event. The point of the calendar scam appears to be to get you to click, as checking the event location will see a phishing link waiting for you.
Instead of merely an event location for Google Maps to load, the Calendar Phishing Scam shows a link in the location. That link is the phishing link.
How old is the Calendar Phishing Scam?
Research suggests the Calendar Phishing Scam is actually not as new as it seems. While the approach is definitely fresh, especially in the grand scheme of things, at least one researcher has suggested this scam goes back to 2008.
That being said, now that online inboxes from mail and calendar services automatically add event details to a calendar based on an email, this scam has the potential to be more dangerous as it infiltrates more calendars.
How do you go remove the Calendar Phishing Scam?
Fortunately the calendar phishing scam is easy to identify, and even easier to get rid of.
If you you suddenly see a bunch of foreign events appear in your calendar, instead of clicking accept, head to your online calendar system (such as Google Calendar) and remove yourself from the entire list of events.
You’ll find the ability to remove the events on Google Calendar, and have found it works several times through the several invites we’ve been sent recently.
Scammers are able to get these calendar invites through underneath your mail client’s automatic measures, which means you may receive a few. Gmail and other mail systems tend to automatically throw calendar entry invites they receive into your calendar, even if they’re not something you may want or even care about.
If it continues to happen, you may want to consider turning off “Events from Gmail” in your Google Calendar settings, or the equivalent setting in a comparable calendar system.