Do not trust the 2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO scam
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is "2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO"?
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 a 2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH lottery, and encourages them to claim the funds by making contact via the provided email address. You are strongly advised not to trust this or similar scams.
This email is disguised as a message from a lottery board member, however, no official lotteries have anything to do with this scam - many scams of this kind use the names of legitimate organizations and corporations/companies, but this does not mean that they are in any way involved with them.
Typically, scammers behind these lottery scams attempt to deceive people into believing that they have won a prize (in this case, $500,000) and providing personal, sensitive information. Commonly, they ask to provide information such as name, surname, telephone number, credit card details, login credentials, and to pay a processing (or other) fee, transfer charge, etc.
Depending on the provided information, scammers will misuse it for various malicious purposes. For example, to steal identities, personal accounts, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and sell it to third parties. All possible negative outcomes can be avoided simply by ignoring such emails.
|Name||2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO Email Scam|
|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 Contactfirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com|
|Disguise||This email is disguised as a message from an 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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Some 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". Generally, scammers behind them attempt to trick recipients into providing sensitive information or paying certain sums of money.
Note that these emails can be used for other malicious purposes, for example, to deceive users into installing malware onto their computers. Commonly, malspam campaigns are used to proliferate ransomware, Trojans, and other malicious programs.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Generally, cyber criminals behind malspam campaigns send emails that contain a malicious attachment (file) or the website link of a download page to a malicious file. In any case, their main goal is to trick recipients into executing the malicious file, which then installs a rogue program.
When users open the malicious documents with MS Office 2010 or newer, they are asked to enable editing/content (macros commands). These documents cannot install malware without receiving this permission, however, older versions install malicious software automatically, since they do not have "Protected View" mode.
How to avoid installation of malware
Cyber criminals commonly disguise their emails as legitimate and official, and include a link or attachment. Therefore, do not open attachments or website links within irrelevant emails, especially when the 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 (eMule, torrent clients), unofficial pages, etc., should not be used. The same applies to installations through third party installers. Software must be updated and/or activated only with tools or implemented functions that are designed by official software developers.
Unofficial, third party tools are often designed by cyber criminals and cause installation of malware. Also, it is illegal to activate licensed software with any unofficial activators ('cracking' tools). To keep operating systems safe, you are advised to regularly scan it for threats with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software.
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 "2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO" email message:
Este es un correo electrónico de solicitud de información vía - de:
EU LOTTO BOARD ;
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.
Instant automatic malware removal:
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- What is 2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious emails:
Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.
Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.
After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.
Emails with Malicious Attachments
Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.
In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.
If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.
While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.
This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.
To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.
How to spot a malicious email?
While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:
- Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
- Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
- Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
- Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.
To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
Example of a spam email:
What to do if you fell for an email scam?
- If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
- If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
- If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
- If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
- Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.
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