Keep an eye out for this fake invoice

Many software vendors adopted a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model a decade ago. Instead of making a one-time purchase for a program, it is sold at a monthly cost. The best example of this is when Microsoft changed the model of Office. Tap or click here for free alternatives to Microsoft Word.

It wasn’t long before others followed suit, including antivirus company Norton. You can benefit from all the online protection offered by the product while obtaining updates for a flat monthly fee.

The provider will usually send you an email when your subscription is exhausted. But read on to see how scammers exploit this system to steal money.

Here is the backstory

If you have a monthly subscription to Xbox Game Pass or Office 365, you probably won’t think it’s strange to receive an email from Microsoft. However, this would raise questions if you are not a member.

The same goes for Norton and its plethora of security products. But an old scam has resurfaced, trying to trick people into paying for their annual subscription, even if they don’t have one or it isn’t due. Phishing emails have, unsurprisingly, nothing to do with Norton.

The scam has several variants, but all of them follow a similar pattern. First, victims will receive an email from an unknown contact claiming that an “annual product membership” for a Norton product has been renewed.

Products often mentioned in emails include:

  • Norton Total Protection
  • Norton Total Complete Security
  • Norton 360
  • Norton 360 automatic edition
  • Norton PC Life
  • Norton Family All Devices
  • Norton Life Lock

The official-looking invoice includes a phone number recipients can call for suspected refund and settlement issues. If your scam radar hasn’t gone off, you might be tempted to call and find out what’s going on.

What can you do about it

The best thing to do when you receive an email like this is to block the sender and delete it. If you call the number, the person on the other end of the line will often try to help you. They will insist that they need your bank details to verify the account and issue a refund. But it’s all part of the scam.

Here are ways to thwart scams like these:

  • Avoid clicking on links, downloading attachments, or calling phone numbers found in unsolicited messages. If you are unsure of a post or link, contact the company it is supposed to be from directly through their official website or phone numbers you know are legit.
  • Carefully inspect the email address of the suspicious message. In most of these fake Norton emails, the sender used a basic Gmail account, which should be the first indication that it is a scam.
  • Norton is aware of the scam and has set up a website where you can verify that an email claiming to be from the company is legitimate.
  • Upgrade to the only antivirus software Kim trusts, our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for just $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price.

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