Do not trust the 2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

"2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO" removal guide


Scammers behind this phishing scam attempt to obtain sensitive information. They claim that whoever received this email has been selected as a winner of $500,000 in some 2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH lottery and encourage to claim the funds by contacting them via the provided email. It is strongly recommended not to trust this or any other scam of this type.

2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO email spam campaign

This email is disguised as a letter from a lottery board member. Although, none of the lotteries have anything to do with this scam - many scams of this kind use the names of legitimate organizations, corporations/companies, but this does not mean that they are in any way involved with them. Typically, scammers behind such lottery scams attempt to deceive users into thinking that they have won some prize (in this case $500,000) and providing some personal, sensitive information. It is common that they ask to provide information such as name, surname, phone number, credit card details, login credentials, pay a processing (or other) fee, transfer charge, etc. Depending on the provided information, scammers may misuse it for various malicious purposes, for example: to steal identities, personal accounts, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, sell it to third parties. All the possible negative outcomes can be avoided by simply ignoring such emails.

Threat Summary:
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scammers behind this phishing scam claim that a recipient has been selected as a winner of $500,000
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Disguise This email is disguised as a letter from some EU LOTTO board member
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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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A couple examples of other similar scams are "2020 MASTERCARD USERS AWARD Email Scam", "Suspicious Sign-In Attempt Prevented Email Scam" and "Important: You Have 19 Pending Incoming Email(s) Email Scam". As a rule, scammers behind them attempt either to trick recipients into providing them sensitive information or paying them a certain amount of money. It is worthwhile to mention that emails can be used for other malicious purposes too, for example, to deceive users into installing malware on their computers. It is common that such malspam campaigns are used to proliferate ransomware, Trojans, and other malicious programs.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

As a rule, cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns send emails that contain some malicious attachment (file) or a website link of a download page for a malicious file. Either way, their main goal is to trick recipients into executing some malicious file that would install a certain malicious program. Usually they attach a malicious Microsoft Office document, PDF document, archive file (like ZIP, RAR), executable file (like .exe), JavaScript file. When users open malicious documents with MS Office 2010 or never, they are asked to enable editing/content (macros commands), such documents cannot install malware without getting such permission. Although, older versions install malicious software automatically (they do not include the "Protected View" mode).

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is common that cyber criminals disguise their emails as legitimate, official, and include some link or attachment. Therefore, it strongly recommended not to open attachments and/or website links in irrelevant emails, especially when emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. Files and programs should be downloaded only from official, trustworthy websites, and through direct links. Third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (like eMule, torrent clients), unofficial pages, etc., should not be used for that. The same applies to installations through third party installers. Installed software must be updated and/or activated only with tools (and/or implemented functions) that are designed by official software developers. Unofficial, third party tools often are designed by cyber criminals and cause installation of some malware. Also, it is not legal to activate licensed software with any unofficial activators ('cracking' tools). In order to keep operating system even more safe it is recommended to regularly scan it for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO" email letter:

Subject: -
: Congratulations.
Este es un correo electrónico de solicitud de información vía - de:

Dear sir,
Due to the most recent COVID-19 epidemic, Your email has been selected to claim the sum of $500,000 in the 2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO through the United Nations Covid-19 relief funding.

To Claim your funds please contact Our processing Agent.
Ambreen Dossa.

John Edward.

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 1Download 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 "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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