Fact Check

Adobe PDF Reader Upgrade

E-mail phishing scam poses as notifications for Adobe PDF Reader software upgrades.

Published Dec 5, 2010

Phishing bait:   E-mailed notification for Adobe PDF Reader software upgrades.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, December 2010]

Subj: Action Required : Upgrade New Adobe PDF Reader 2011 Today


This is to remind that a new version of Adobe Acrobat Reader with enhanced features for viewing, creating, editing, printing and internet-sharing PDF documents has been released.

To upgrade your application:

+ Go to https://www.2011-adobe-acrobat.org
+ Get your options, download and upgrade.

Thanks and best regards,
Tony Brian
Adobe Acrobat Reader Support

Copy rights Adobe 2010 © All rights reserved


Origins:   In the latter part of 2010, Internet users began receiving e-mailed messages bearing subject lines such as "Action Required: Upgrade New Adobe PDF Reader 2011 Today," informing them about the release of a new version of the popular Adobe Reader software and offering links to sites from which the upgrades could be downloaded and installed. Although the links enclosed in such messages did take recipients who clicked on them to very convincing and professional-looking web sites full of PDF-related product information and user testimonials, those sites had no connection to Adobe and offered no valid Adobe products — they were faux sites apparently created to spread malware and/or collect sensitive personal information.

In September 2010, Adobe posted an alert about these phishing schemes:

It has come to Adobe's attention that email messages purporting to offer a download of a new version of Adobe Reader have been sent by entities claiming to be Adobe. Many of these emails are signed as "Adobe Acrobat Reader Support" (or similar), and in some instances require recipients to register and/or provide personal information. Please be aware that these emails have not been sent by Adobe or on Adobe's behalf.

The Adobe Reader is free software available for download directly from the Adobe Reader download page on the Adobe website at https://get.adobe.com/reader/; it is not available in any other manner via download, including via email.

Customers receiving one of these emails should delete the email immediately without clicking on any of the links.

Last updated:   5 December 2010

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.