What is the Credito Agricola email scam?
Typically, cyber criminals behind these emails attempt to convince unsuspecting recipients into clicking the links and provide sensitive information (such as bank accounts, credit card details, social security numbers, and other information) on the opened pages or to send the details directly via email.
Note that phishing emails often seem like they are sent from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities.
This email is in Portuguese and disguised as an email from Credito Agricola, a company in Portugal that offers banking services such as insurance, deposits and investment, credit, and online banking. Therefore, it can be assumed that scammers behind this email are targeting people living in Portugal who are using the Credito Agricola company's services.
The email states that the bank has blocked its service because the limit of attempts to update security keys has been exceeded. Recipients are encouraged to open a provided website (via the "Realizar Processo") and provide certain information to unblock the account. Furthermore, they are warned that, unless they do this within three days of receiving the email, they must pay 147.30 EUR to unblock the account.
In fact, the link in this email opens phishing websites asking users to provide personal information. Some may be designed to appear as the official Credito Agricola website and used to trick recipients into providing credit card details, bank accounts, and other banking information or login credentials.
|Name||Credito Agricola Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient's Credito Agricola bank account is blocked|
|Disguise||Message from the Credito Agricola company|
|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.
In summary, this email is disguised as an official message from the Credito Agricola bank and is used to trick recipients into opening phishing websites and providing sensitive information on them. Typically, cyber criminals behind these emails attempt to trick unsuspecting recipients into providing details that can then be used to steal identities, personal accounts (e.g., email, social media, banking accounts), make fraudulent purchases and transactions, and for other malicious purposes.
Note that the emails can be used to extract personal from recipients and trick them into installing malware via attachments or download links for malicious files.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Malware (including ransomware) is usually distributed via malspam campaigns, unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools, Trojans, dubious file/software download sources, and fake software updating tools.
When cyber criminals attempt to distribute malware via malspam campaigns, they send emails that contain malicious attachments or download links for malicious files. Typically, they disguise their emails as official and important. If recipients open the attached file (or a file downloaded via a website link), they cause installation of malicious software.
Trojans are other rogue programs that can cause chain infections. I.e., when a Trojan is installed on the operating system, it can install additional malware.
Free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites, and third party downloaders are examples of other sources that are used to distribute malware. Cyber criminals disguise malicious files as legitimate and regular. When users download and open them, they inadvertently infect their computers with malware.
Fake software updating tools install malicious software rather than updates/fixes for installed programs, or they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system.
How to avoid installation of malware
Do not trust irrelevant emails that have files attached (or contain website links) and are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Software should not be downloaded or installed through third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages or other similar sources/tools.
Use only official websites and direct links. Installed software should never be updated or activated with third party, unofficial tools, since they can install malware. Furthermore, it is illegal to use third party tools to activate licensed software.
The only legitimate way to update and activate software is to use tools and functions that are provided by the official developers. Regularly scan your computer with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and keep this software up to date.
If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text in the email:
Subject: CREDITO AGRICOLA ALERTA - Servico Bloqueado Ative Agora MULTA EUR 147,30. - ( 774943952583 )
- para sua seguranca, este servico encontra-se bloqueado por tempo indeterminado porque execedeu o tempo limite permitido para realizar as atualizacoes de suas chaves de seguranca.
Sera necessario que acesse nosso web site para verificar suas informacoes em nossa base de dados, ou os servicos oferecidos por nos on-line serao bloqueados por tempo indeterminado em sua conta.
Caso nao realize o processo on-line no tempo estimado de 03 (tres) dias, a contar desta data de recebimento deste informativo, para realizar o desbloqueio sera necessario procurar uma de nossas filiais mais proximas e mediante pagamento de multa no valor de EUR 147,30 para realizar este procedimento.
Este e-mail foi enviado para voce por que e um de nossos clientes e segundo nossa politica de uso, voce esta qualificado para receber notificacoes on-line quando necessarias. Protocolo de atendimento: 49693989-49693989, referente a esta solicitacao on-line.
© Credito Agricola - O Banco Nacional com pronuncia local. - 2021. Todos os direitos reservados.
Screenshot of one of the websites that the link in this email opens:
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- What is Credito Agricola 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.