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Avoid getting scammed by "stopped processing incoming emails" letter

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

"Stopped processing incoming emails" scam removal guide

What is the "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam letter?

"Stopped processing incoming emails" is a phishing spam campaign. This term refers to a mass-scale operation, during which thousands of deceptive/scam emails are sent. These letters claim that recipients' email accounts have been suspended and incoming mail is no longer reaching the inbox. To recover the account - it must be updated. It must be emphasized that all of the information provided by "Stopped processing incoming emails" - is false. The purpose of this spam campaign is to trick recipients into attempting to sign into their email accounts through the promoted phishing site, thereby unintentionally exposing their log-in credentials (i.e. passwords) to the scammers.

Stopped processing incoming emails spam campaign

The "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam letters (subject/title "WARNING:- update your account"; may vary) inform recipients that incoming emails are no longer reaching their inboxes. The reason for this fake account suspension is supposedly users' refusal to update their accounts. Hence, email services were suspended by the provider and access to the accounts restricted. To recover their email accounts, recipients are instructed to click the "Update Account Here" button and update them. This button leads to a phishing website, which is presented as a log-in page to users' email accounts. Any information (i.e. passwords) entered into this site are recorded and delivered to the scammers behind the spam campaign. Therefore, by trusting these "Stopped processing incoming emails" letters users can have their email accounts stolen. If attempts to log into email accounts through this phishing website have already been made, it is advised to immediately change the exposed passwords. Additionally, it is recommended to change the log-in credentials of any accounts associated with the mail. It is also important to contact the official support of all potentially compromised accounts/services.

Email accounts are of particular interest to scammers, as they are often connected/registered with others. Hence, through hijacked emails - criminals may gain access to accounts tied with them. For example, scammers can use stolen communication accounts (e.g. emails, messengers, social networking, social media, etc.) to ask for contacts/friends for loans and/or to proliferate malware (by sharing infectious files) - under the guise of the genuine owner. Accounts that directly or indirectly deal with financial information (e.g. store credit card details), such as: banking, digital wallet, online money transferring, e-commerce, etc. - can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or to make online purchases. To summarize, trusting "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam can result in severe privacy issues, system infections, financial losses and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Stopped Processing Incoming Emails Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients' mail accounts have been suspended and require updates.
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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"Verify Microsoft Account Email Scam", "Amazon Customer Care Email Scam" and "National UK Lottery" are a few examples of other phishing spam campaigns. Scam emails are typically presented as "official", "urgent", "important", "priority" and so on. Aside from phishing, spam mail is also used for various other scams and even malware proliferation (e.g. trojans, ransomware and other malicious programs). Due to the relative prevalence of deceptive mail, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns infect systems via virulent files, which are distributed through them. These files can be attached to the emails and/or the letters contain download links of malicious content. Infectious files can be in a variety of formats, e.g. archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so forth. When these files are opened - the infection process (i.e. malware download/installation) is jumpstarted. 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 document is opened. Later versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macro commands. In these versions, users are asked to enable macros (i.e. to enable editing/content).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspect and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened - especially, any attachments or links found in them. Additionally, it is recommended to only use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malware is also commonly spread through dubious 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 always download from official/verified sources and activate/update programs with tools or functions provided by legitimate developers. To protect device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, this software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Stopped processing incoming emails" scam email letter:

Subject: WARNING:- update your account
 
Hello postmaster,

 

We have stopped processing incoming emails

 

Due to your refusal to update your account and as a result,we are forced to lock your account and all your services will be suspended.

 

Use our URL below to update your account to avoid being suspended

 

Update Account Here

 

NOTE:This email will be closed if ignored.

 

Regards,
Supported by -

Screenshot of the phishing site promoted by these scam emails:

Stopped processing incoming emails Scam promoted phishing website

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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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