American Express Email Virus

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

"American Express Email Virus" removal guide

What is "American Express Email Virus"?

"American Express Email Virus" is one of many spam campaigns used by scammers to proliferate computer infections. Scammers use this (and other similar) email scams to trick people into opening presented attachments (HTML files). Opening this particular attachment will result in users having various personal details stolen.

American Express Email Virus spam campaign

Scammers present the "American Express Email Virus" scam as an important/urgent email relating to an American Express card. Note that American Express (a financial services company) has nothing to do with this scam. Scammers who send these emails often claim to be representatives of well-known companies. Generally, attachments presented in these scams are used to infect computers and steal personal data. In this case, the main purpose is to trick recipients into opening the presented HTML file, which then opens a deceptive website on which users are asked to provide their banking details (see screenshot below). This scam is probably used to proliferate malicious software such as Emotet. In any case, providing the required details (or, in other cases, simply opening the attachments) usually results in various privacy issues, financial loss, browsing safety problems, and so on. We recommend that you ignore these emails and that you do not download or open the attachments or web links.

Threat Summary:
Namepossible malware infections
Threat TypeTrojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
SymptomsTrojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.
DamageStolen banking information, passwords, identity theft, victim's computer added to a botnet.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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Typically, these spam campaigns are used to proliferate viruses. Some examples of possible infections are Adwind, FormBook, TrickBot, LokiBot, and so on. Generally, these are presented in emails are used to steal personal details (logins, passwords, etc.) or cause other infections (chain infections). Therefore, eliminate this unwanted software immediately.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

This particular spam campaign is used to trick people into opening the provided HTML file, which leads to a deceptive website. On this site, users are asked to provide banking account details such as usernames, passwords, and digits from their American Express cards. In other cases, scammers attach Microsoft Office documents, PDF archives, executables, or other files. These must be opened, extracted, and then executed manually for the infections to proliferate.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not download or open (execute) files that are attached to emails received from suspicious, untrustworthy or unknown addresses. These deceptive emails can often be identified, since they do not relate to their recipients or are irrelevant. Have a trustworthy (reputable) anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed and keep it enabled. These tools can prevent computer infection by viruses and stop them before they can proliferate/cause further infections. If you have already opened malicious attachments, run a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "American Express Email Virus" email message:

Subject: Urgent Document; Please Read

Dear Member,

You have a priority document regarding your American Express Card.

Access attached document to read.

Thank you.
American Express Service

Contact our service center for

© 2018 America Express, Inc. the American Express brandmark, and the color blue are trademarks of American Express service , Inc. All rights reserved.
For more information on American Express privacy practices, refer to the American Express Privacy Policy.
Please do not reply directly to this e-mail. American Express will not receive any reply message.
For questions or comments, visit Contact UPS.

This communication contains proprietary information and may be confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, the reading, copying, disclosure or other use of the contents of this e-mail is strictly prohibited and you are instructed to please delete this e-email immediately.

Screenshot of a deceptive website designed to steal banking details:

american express email virus website designed to steal password and login

Another variant of "American Express Email Virus" spam campaign. This time crooks add an html file which downloads a script, rather than asking to enter account credentials. The downloaded script is designed to look like American Express bank's website and ask users to enter a bunch of different details which are automatically saved in a remote server controlled by cyber criminals.

Screenshot of the email letter:

American Express spam campaign email

Text presented within this email:

Subject: REMINDER: A concern that requires your action.

Primary Cardmember Message

For your security:

We are writing to let you know that there is a recent security report for your American Express(R) Account(s). At the time of report analysis, errors were encountered.
In view of this, We mandate that you confirm your on-file records with us.
A safe attached fillable Web form is sent with this message.
• See Attached Form, Download and Open to Continue.
Thank you for your continued Cardmembership.

American Express Customer Service Card®:


Contact Customer Service | View Our Privacy Statement | Add Us to Your Address Book
Your Cardmember information is included in the upper-right corner to help you recognize this as a customer service e-mail from American Express. We kindly ask you not to reply to this e-mail but instead contact us securely via the customer service link above.
Copyright 2018 American Express Company. All rights reserved.

Screenshot of the website delivered by downloaded script:

American Express email spam campaign deceptive website

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - usually it is best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs to do this automatically. To remove this malware we recommend using Malwarebytes for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example, using task manager, and identified a program that looks suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":


manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck the "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you wish to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete".

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Be sure to enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the filename of the malware, be sure to remove it.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills. If you do not have these skills, leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. These steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is best to prevent infection than try to remove malware later. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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