Steering Clear of the False “American Express Security Team” Emails

In our super-connected digital world, phishing scams have become a regular menace. One such notorious example is the counterfeit “American Express Security Team” email. These deceitful emails are designed to trick recipients into handing over their account credentials via a phishing file. Significantly, this email bears no relation to the authentic American Express Company.


Understanding the “American Express Security Team” Email Scam

This deceptive email, often titled “Alert! Card Purchase Declined” or something similar, poses as an official communication from the “American Express Security Team”. The fear-mongering message informs recipients of a declined cardless purchase made with American Express.

The fabricated email alleges that the card account has been temporarily suspended and requires the owner’s identity verification. The recipient is directed to download an attached file and verify their identity by logging into their American Express account.

The dire truth is that all the claims made by this email are baseless and it has no affiliation with the real American Express Company. The attachment is an HTML file used for phishing, designed to steal the user’s login credentials.

When individuals enter their details into these phishing files, the information is captured and forwarded to cybercriminals. Consequently, victims of this spam mail run the risk of having their American Express accounts compromised.

The crooks can then exploit the hijacked accounts for unauthorized transactions, online purchases, or other financial and identity-related misdeeds.

In essence, falling for an email like “American Express Security Team” can lead to grave privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you’ve already revealed your login credentials, immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. It might also be advisable to contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:

  • Name: “American Express Security Team” phishing email
  • Threat Type: Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
  • Fake Claim: Purchase made with American Express has been declined.
  • Disguise:American Express
  • Attachment(s): American_Express_Card_Security.html (filename may vary)
  • Detection Names: Combo Cleaner (Trojan.JS.Phishing.DI), ESET-NOD32 (HTML/Phishing.Agent.EJL), Fortinet (JS/Phishing.6044!tr), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/PhishLeonem), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
  • Symptoms: Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
  • Distribution methods: Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
  • Damage: Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.

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How Do Spam Campaigns Infect Computers?

Spam emails spread malware by distributing malicious files, which can be attached to or linked inside the messages. Infectious files can be documents (e.g., PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), archives (e.g., ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (e.g., .exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the malware download/installation process is initiated. For instance, Microsoft Office files infect systems by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote documents require users to click on embedded files or links.

How to Avoid Installation of Malware?

It’s critical to handle incoming emails and other messages with care. We advise against opening attachments or links found in dubious/irrelevant mail, as they can be malicious. We recommend using post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the “Protected View” mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

Since malware is not distributed exclusively via spam mail, we also advise being cautious while browsing, as fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and harmless.

Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation (“cracking”) tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.

We must stress the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats/issues. If you’ve already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.


In a world where digital communication is so prevalent, scams like the “American Express Security Team” email are unfortunately all too common. However, by staying informed and cautious, you can help protect yourself from these cyber threats. Always be wary of unsolicited emails, especially those that ask for personal information or prompt you to click on a link or download a file. With a healthy dose of skepticism and robust security software, you can keep your information safe and secure.

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