AMEX Email Scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

What is "AMEX Email Scam"?

"AMEX Email Scam" is a spam campaign (a scam) that cyber criminals use to trick people into divulging various personal details (credit card details and other sensitive information). Trusting this email message might cause serious financial loss and privacy problems. We strongly Advise that you do not provide any details requested in the website form.

AMEX Email Scam spam campaign

Scammers present this email as a notification from AMEX (American Express) about some recent updates to its online service platform. It states that the recipient's profile could not be authenticated (verified) and thus access to the card member's profile has been disabled.

To resolve this problem, people are encouraged to complete a form that can be opened by clicking the "See Attached" button, which then opens a fake/unofficial with very similar appearance to the official AMEX website.

It asks card members to enter details such as user ID and password, the 15-digit number on the front side of the credit card, a 4-digit CID number, 3-digit CSC security code, and card expiration date.

It also asks them to provide other personal details such as mother's maiden name and birth date, card member's place of birth, first elementary school, and a security PIN (a code provided during activation of the card). To update the profile details, card members are encouraged to complete all fields within the form.

These details might be used to make various purchases or could cause financial loss in a number of other ways. To avoid this situation, ignore this scam, which has nothing to do with American Express. Scammers commonly proliferate spam campaigns using the names of well-known, legitimate companies.

Threat Summary:
Name AMEX Email Scam.
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of user's 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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"AMEX Email Scam" is just one of many spam campaigns proliferated to extort money from recipients, thus causing financial losses. Note that "Iforgot.apple.com", "You Certainly Do Not Know Me", and "Hey. It's me! Your Future Friend Or Enemy" are just some examples of other scams used for the same purpose. There are, however, other spam campaigns.

These scams infect computers with high-risk malicious programs such as, for example, LokiBot, TrickBot, Emotet, AZORult, Adwind, and other viruses. These malicious programs are also used to generate revenue. Therefore, having a computer infected with these malicious programs can also lead to financial loss.

They might also cause privacy issues and additional infections. Typically, these programs steal passwords, banking details, and other personal information. Typically, these infections are caused when people open attachments or web links that are included within email scams.

The attachments might be Microsoft Office or PDF documents, executables (.exe files), Javascript files, archives such as ZIP, RAR, and so on. If opened, they download and install malicious programs.

We receive a great deal of feedback from concerned users about this scam email. Here is the most popular question we receive:

Q: Hi pcrisk.com team, I received an email stating that my computer was hacked and they have a video of me. Now they are asking for a ransom in Bitcoins. I think this must be true because they listed my real name and password in the email. What should I do?

A: Do not worry about this email. Neither hackers nor cyber criminals have infiltrated/hacked your computer and there is no video of you watching pornography. Simply ignore the message and do not send any Bitcoins. Your email, name, and password was probably stolen from a compromised website such as Yahoo (these website breaches are common). If you are concerned, you can check if your accounts have been compromised by visiting the haveibeenpwned website.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns (emails) that contain malicious attachments can cause computer infections only if they are opened. For instance, a Microsoft Office document will demand permission to enable macros commands (in effect, to disable "Protected View" mode). If this permission is given, a malicious document will start downloading and installing a computer infection.

the same applies to other files. The contents of an archive file (ZIP, RAR, and so on) will need to be extracted and opened. In summary, to cause computer infections, attachments or web links that lead to them must be opened before they can affect the system. Leaving them unopened cannot do any damage.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To keep computers safe from various computer infections, avoid opening email attachments or web links that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. The same applies to emails that are irrelevant (even if they are presented as 'official'). Use only official websites and direct links when downloading software.

Peer-to-Peer networks (such as torrent clients, eMule and so on), unofficial websites, third party downloaders and installers should not be used. Be aware of tools that allow you to bypass paid activation of software or operating systems. Using these tools is a cyber crime that can also lead to various computer infections.

Installed software should be updated using tools or (implemented functions) that are provided by official software developers. Other third party tools should not be trusted, since they can be used to proliferate malicious programs. Additionally, having a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software can detect and remove infections.

If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "AMEX Email Scam" email message:

Account 100457
We're reaching you on a recent update on our online service platform and we feel the need to evaluate Cardmember's profile.
At the moment of evaluation. your profile couldn't be authenticated during diligence checks.
However; For security reason. We declined access to card member's profile and request that you confirm what we have on records for you.
Attached along this message is a web filliable form. Complete request by downloading and filling out the form.
See Attached
Thank you for your Card Membership,
American Express Customer Care

Screenshot of a scam website used to steal personal details:

fake AMEX website asking to enter personal details

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

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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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 autoruns.zip 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 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

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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 pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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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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