Avoid getting scammed by the fake "Banco Montepio" emails

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

"Banco Montepio email scam" removal guide

What is the fake "Banco Montepio" email?

"Banco Montepio email scam" refers to a spam campaign, designed to extract recipients' banking credentials (i.e. usernames and PIN codes / passwords). The term "spam campaign" is used to define a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters distributed through this spam campaign, inform recipients that an unusual transactions has been detected on their banking accounts and they need to update the account security - in order to prevent them from being suspended. These scam emails are disguised as notifications from Banco Montepio - Portuguese banking and mutual savings organization. It must be emphasized that the fake letters are in no way associated with the actual Montepio bank. The goal of this scam is to trick users into attempting to log-in to their banking accounts via link provided in the emails, which leads to a phishing website.

Banco Montepio email spam campaign

According to a rough translation, the "Banco Montepio" scam letters with the subject/title "Subject: BANCO MONTEPIO - Identificamos uma transacao nao habitual em sua conta. - ( 62051474959 )" (may vary) - inform recipients that the bank's monitoring system has detected that their security credentials and Private Net24 Access need to be updated and authorized. Supposedly, until the update/authorization process is carried out - the banking account will be fully or partially suspended. Then the emails urge recipients to click the "Realizar autorizacao." button - to securely access their accounts and complete the necessary processes. This link redirects to a phishing website, which is presented as the sign-in page to the Montepio bank. Should any of the log-in credentials be entered into the site - they will be exposed to the scammers behind the scam emails. Thereby, allowing the criminals access and control over users' banking accounts. The stolen accounts may then be used to make fraudulent monetary transactions and/or online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting the fake "Banco Montepio" letters, users may lose access over their bank accounts and experience financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. If attempts to sign-in through the phishing webpage have already been made, it is strongly advised to change the credentials of the potentially compromised account and contact the bank's official support.

Threat Summary:
Name Banco Montepio Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Emails claim recipients need to update their bank accounts to avoid them being suspended
Disguise Banco Montepio
Related Domains mont-pio[.]com
Serving IP Address (mont-pio[.]com) 104.24.96.58
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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"Email verification", "Zoom email scam", "Google Forms email scam" and "National UK Lottery" are some examples of other phishing spam campaigns. Deceptive/Scam emails are usually presented as "important", "urgent", "priority" and similar; they may even be disguised as mail from legitimate institutions, organizations, companies, service providers and other entities. Aside from phishing, spam campaigns are also used for other types of scams and malware proliferation. Due to the relative prevalence of spam mail, it is recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected through virulent files, which are attached and/or linked (download links) inside deceptive/scam emails. These files can be in various formats, such as: archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so on. When infectious files are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection chain (i.e. malware download/installation) is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010 - this process is triggered the moment a document is opened, whilst newer versions request users to enable macros (i.e. to enable editing/content). Therefore, the later versions' "Protected View" mode prevents automatic execution of macro commands and by extension - immediate triggering of infection processes.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid malware spread via spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails - especially, any attachments and/or links found in them. Additionally, it is recommended to only use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Other popular methods of distributing malicious programs include: untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters. Therefore, it is important to only download from official/verified sources, as well as activate and update programs with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. To protect device integrity and user privacy, it is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. Furthermore, this software must be kept updated, used to perform regular system scans 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 "Banco Montepio" scam email letter:

Subject: BANCO MONTEPIO - Identificamos uma transacao nao habitual em sua conta. - ( 62051474959  )

 

Sistema integrado de Notificacoes.

 

Estimado cliente Banco Montepio: ********

 

Nosso sistema de monitoramento em tempo real, detectou que suas credenciais de seguranca juntamente com seu Acesso Net24 Particulares encontram-se pendentes de atualizacao e autorizacao de uso.

 

Por este motivo, para evitar problemas e manter seus dados seguros, estamos prestes a bloquear de forma parcial ou total o acesso a nossos servicos.

 

Para evitar a suspencao de todos os nossos servicos, voce devera realizar o procedimento de atualizacao e/ou autorizacao de suas credenciais.
Utilize o botao abaixo para realizar o processo de forma segura e totalmente online.

 

Realizar autorizacao.


Este processo e importante para o bom andamento e funcionamento do seus dados sensiveis.
Caso, o processo nao seja realizado, sua conta e seus dados podem ser bloqueados em nosso sistema automatizado.

 

Banco Montepio ©
Todos os direitos reservados. Sistema Online de Notificacoes.
15/12/2020 09:47:49

Screenshot of the phishing website, disguised as the sign-in page of Banco Montepio:

Banco Montepio email scam promoted fake banking log-in 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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes 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 Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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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.

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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.

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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