Zoom scam threatens you with being fired: What to do now

Woman in yellow top clapping hand to forehead while holding laptop.
(Image credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock)

A cruel new phishing scam arrives in your email inbox reminding you of an "emergency" company Zoom meeting that's due to start in only a few minutes. Why should you join in? Because the email says you might be getting fired.

Researchers at Abnormal Security discovered this ruse and shared a sample email message, which calls itself an "Offer Letter Review Meeting" and pretends to come from your employer. 

"Your presence is crucial to this meeting and equally required to commence this Q1 performance review meeting," the body of the email says. The stated purpose of the meeting: "Contract Suspension/Termination Trial."

Yeah, we'd click on that pretty quickly too. It just so happens there's a handy text link right in the body of the email to "Join this Live Meeting." That link takes you to what appears to be the Zoom login page, but it's in fact a perfect fake with a URL that's different from the real URL at "https://zoom.us/signin". 

If you enter your Zoom credentials, then your credentials become the bad guys' credentials, and they'll have full access to your Zoom account as well as to any other account with which you used the same username and password. (Don't reuse passwords, and use one of the best password managers.) 

You won't get access to Zoom by logging into this page, and as Abnormal Security points out, you might think there was an error and enter your credentials a second time.

How to avoid this phishing scam

Abnormal Security found this scam campaign using Microsoft's Office 365 email services, but in fact this could happen on almost any email platform. 

To avoid falling for such phishing scams, the easiest thing to do is to not click on links within emails and, failing that, to check where a weblink takes you by hovering your mouse pointer over it before clicking to display the destination URL. 

The urgency of this phishing email is designed to make you forget such safeguards, however. And we have to confess that a similar phishing email fooled us a couple of years ago. The only thing that saved our bacon was that we happened to have one of the best antivirus programs installed -- it blocked our browser from displaying the phishing page.

Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.