Do not trust the fake "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" emails

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

"POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" email scam removal guide

What is the "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" email?

"POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" is the name of an email phishing spam campaign. The term "spam campaign" refers to a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters distributed through the "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" spam campaign are disguised as official mail from Powerball - an American lottery game, offered by 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. It must be emphasized that these scam emails are in no way associated with the genuine lottery and all of the information provided within them is false. The purpose of this spam campaign is phishing; in other words, the letters are intended to trick recipients into providing their personal information that can then be potentially used to further this or other scams.

POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS email spam campaign

The "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" scam emails (title/subject "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS (COVID-19) EDITION"; may vary) inform victims that their emails have been selected to participate in the "Powerball" lottery's 500,000.00 USD dollar draw. The letters state that the prize will be paid out, once winners' confirmation is received. The deceptive emails instruct recipients to check additional information on the claims in the attachment. Recipients are also requested to provide the following information - their names, phone numbers and home addresses. The personal details can then be used to further the "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" scheme or other scams, and/or be sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). To summarize, by trusting this scam users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim that recipients have been selected to participate in the "Powerball" lottery.
Disguise Powerball lottery
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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"United Nations Online Lotto", "2020 EU/COMMONWEALTH LOTTO", "Attn Lucky Winner" and "TOYOTA LOTTERY ORGANIZATION" are some examples of other spam campaigns, similar to "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS". Scam letters are often disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority" and it may even be presented as mail from legitimate institutions, organizations, companies and other enterprises. However, spam campaigns are not used exclusively for phishing purposes - they are also used for other types of scams and malware (e.g. trojan, ransomware, etc.) proliferation. Regardless of what deceptive mail claims, requests, offers or demands, the end-goal is always the same - to generate revenue for the scammers / cyber criminals behind it. Therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns infect systems via virulent files distributed through them. These files can be attached to the scam emails and/or the letters can contain download links of infectious content. Malicious files can be in various formats, such as: archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When the files are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process (i.e. malware download/installation) is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010, macros are executed the moment a virulent document is opened. The newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which requests users to enable the macro commands (i.e. enable editing/content). Hence, the infection process can only be triggered when the macros are enabled manually.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid malware spread via spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links present in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. However, malicious programs are also proliferated through untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal software activation ("cracking") tools and fake updaters. Therefore, it is important to only download from official/verified sources, activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, these programs are to be used to run regular system infections and to remove detected/potential threats. 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 "POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS" scam email letter:

Subject: POWERBALL OFFICIAL 2020 WINNINGS (COVID-19) EDITION

 

YOUR EMAIL WAS SELECTED IN THE POWERBALL LOTTERY DRAW
WITH THE SUM OF $ 500,000.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS)
 
POWERBALL CLAIMS ARE OFFICIALLY AUTHORIZED AND PAID AFTER
CONFIRMATION IS MADE BY THE SELECTED WINNING NUMBER OWNERS.
 
Kindly check the attachment to this email for more informations on your claims.

 

POWERBALL
POWE RPLAY
Powerball Logo. Address: 9918 Turtle Bay Ct, Orlando, FL 32832, USA.

 

CONGRATULATIONS !!!

 

YOUR EMAIL WAS SELECTED IN THE POWERBALL LOTTERY DRAW WITH THE SUM OF $500,00.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS)

 

POWERBALL CLAIMS ARE OFFICIALLY AUTHORIZED AND PAID AFTER CONFIRMATION IS MADE BY THE SELECTED NUMBER OWNERS.

 

NOTE: Kindly send in the following informations for authorization and claims.

 

- Name
- Phone number
- Home Address

 

MR BRETT LIEBMANN
HEAD OF OPERATIONS
POWERBALL POWER PLAY
ORLANDO, FL 32832, USA

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 autoruns.zip 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 pcrisk.com 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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