Do not trust "Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India" scam emails

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

"Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India" email scam removal guide

What is the fake "Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India" email?

"Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India" email scam - refers to a spam campaign, distributing deceptive letters that claim recipients have been selected to receive an exceedingly large sum of money. The term "spam campaign" defines a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of scam emails are sent. To elaborate on this spam campaign, these letters inform users that they are to receive monetary grant/donation from a renown philanthropist. This scheme employs the name of Azim Premji - an Indian business magnate, engineer, investor and philanthropist. It must be emphasized that the scam emails are in no way associated with Azim Premji or the Azim Premji Foundation. The goal of the letters is to gain recipients' trust and them abuse it - for profit.

Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India email spam campaign

The scam emails briefly describe the Azim Premji Foundation (in the letters referred to as "Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India") and the work that it does. Recipients are informed that their email has been randomly selected and as such - they are entitled to a grant/donation worth 1 million US dollars. Should the mail address used to contact the recipient be invalid in some manner, users are asked to initiate communication using a valid one and provide the necessary information to receive the money. To create the impression of legitimacy, the emails contain a link to Azim Premji's Wikipedia page (which now even mentions that the Azim Premji Foundation's name has been used by scammers in spam campaigns) and instruct recipients to use a search engine to find the philanthropist. As mentioned in the introduction, none of the information provided in these letters is true. Therefore, it is strongly advised against trusting them and the emails must simply be ignored.

The exact manner is which spam campaigns are used to generate revenue - varies. They may operate as phishing scams and attempt to extract sensitive information, e.g. names, surnames, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, banking account and credit card details, log-in credentials (i.e. usernames and passwords) of various accounts/platforms, and so on. The data can be revealed by the users themselves and/or inadvertently exposed when entered into phishing websites. Scam emails may also request recipients to make monetary transactions - by claiming them to be donations, fees, and other bogus payments. To summarize, by trusting scam mail, users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients have been chosen to receive a significant amount of money
Disguise Azim Premji Foundation
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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"Mail - Quarantined", "Banco Montepio", "Walmart Attempted Delivery", "Message Attachments Were Delayed" and "National UK Lottery" are some examples of other spam campaigns. Deceptive/Scam emails are usually presented as "important", "urgent", "priority" or otherwise intended to alarm recipients or to pique their curiosity. The letters may even be disguised as mail from legitimate organizations, institutions, companies, service providers and other entities. Aside from various scams and phasing, spam campaigns are also used to spread malware (e.g. trojans, ransomware and other malicious programs). Due to the relative prevalence of spam mail, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected via malicious files, distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the emails and/or the letters contain download links of such content. Virulent files can be in a variety of formats (e.g. archives, executables, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - the infection chain (i.e. malware download/installation) is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010 - this process begins the moment a document is opened. However, newer versions have "Protected View" mode, wherein users are asked to enable macros (i.e. to enable editing/content). Therefore, download/installation of malicious software can only be jumpstarted when macro commands are enabled manually.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened - especially any attachments or links found in them - as they are potential origins of system infections. It is advised to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also distributed via untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal activation tools ("cracks") and fake updaters. Therefore, it is important to always download from official/verified sources, activate and update programs using tools/functions provided by genuine developers. To ensure device integrity and user privacy, it is crucial to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software is to be used to run 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 "Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India" scam email letter:

Hello,

 

Congratulations from the Azim Premji Philanthropies Foundation-India, where life changing opportunities and cash are given-out on a daily basis! Our foundation/founder has indeed been a great Philanthropist to this generation and is truly committed to "giving while living,". However, We are pleased to inform you that you are one (1) of the lucky people to benefit and receive $1,000,000.00USD from our foundation's ongoing goodwill
project, grant/donations program.

 

Is this message sent to a valid e-mail account? Your email account was randomly selected to receive a cash donation of $1,000,000.00USD from the Philanthropist. If this is a valid e-mail account, then you can contact us directly for comprehensive information.

 

For more details visit ( hxxps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azim_Premji ) or Google Azim Premji. Contact : azimpremfoundation653@gmail.com

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.

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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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