If you're a Gmail user and you received an email from a sender called "Gmail" that claims the service is upgrading its security systems and needs you to provide your Gmail username and password, you'd almost certainly just roll your eyes and delete it. But the fact remains that there are thousands upon thousands of Gmail users who are relatively inexperienced, and chances are you know some of them. So you might want to give those people a heads-up that they may receive one of these things.
I received one yesterday. The return email address was firstname.lastname@example.org, and the subject line was "Email Verification." Here's the exact text of the email, poor grammar, misspellings and all:
We have received several complaints from users unable to gain access to their email account, as a result of that, we are upgrading our security systems and making sure each user account is not accessed unauthorised. We do not want you to loose access to your Account since your login information are no longer valid on our database system. Now, the Gmail Account Team need to confirm your profile details below for verification purpose and to confirm that you own this Account:
*Date of Birth:
Please answer each question as thoroughly and accurately as possible, Your detailed answers will help us ensure that only you get access to your account. In an effort to protect your privacy and keep your information secure, if we detect unusual activity on the account, we may disable it.
Thank you for using our email service !
This certainly isn't a new development. In fact, Google has a page on its website that warns Gmail users about this activity, and offers guidance on how to handle these types of emails. But I mentioned all of this to a number of people I know who use Gmail, and several of them said they had also recently received one of these emails. If that's any indication at all, we may be experiencing a spike in this activity that warrants some publicity. And if you have some people in your life who might be in a position to fall for this, try to find the time to warn them. Let's do whatever we can to prevent the bad guys from getting away with this.