Avoid getting scammed by fake "Order Error" emails

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

"Order Error" email scam removal guide

What is the "Order Error" scam email?

"Order Error" is the name of an email spam campaign. This term defines a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are distributed. There are several variants of the "Order Error" scam emails; however, the letters are thematically identical. They are presented as messages sent by a wrongly charged customer/buyer, with the recipient positioned as the seller. It must be emphasized that these emails are scams, and none of the information provided by them is false. The purpose of this campaign is to promote a phishing/malicious site, visiting and trusting which can cause severe issues.

Order Error email spam campaign

The "Order Error" scam letters (subjects/titles "Order error and funds withdrawn" or "Purchase malfunction and funds withdrawn" - depending on the variant) are presented as payment charge disputes. The emails state that the sender, who is the supposed buyer in the scam's scenario, has attempted to purchase products from the recipient's shop but failed to do so due to their credit card being declined. However, despite the failing to make the order, the corresponding sum (149$ or 337$ - depending on the letter's version) has been charged from their bank account. The emails request the recipient to rectify the issue and return the wrongly charged amount. As proof, the letters include a link allegedly leading to the relevant bank statement. As mentioned in the introduction, the "Order Error" letters are fake, and the website linked inside them does not lead to any bank statement.

Deceptive emails like "Order Error" are typically used to push various phishing and malicious websites. The former are designed to record any data entered into them. These sites are often disguised as log-in webpages to legitimate services (e.g., as sign-in pages of real online bank accounts). Hence, information provided to phishing websites (e.g., names, surnames, addresses, emails, telephone numbers, usernames, passwords, banking account and credit card details, etc.) - is unintentionally revealed to the scammers. Upon accessing, malicious sites trigger the infection chains (i.e., download/installation) of malware. Such websites are commonly used to spread trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, and other malicious programs. In summary, by trusting the "Order Error" scam emails, users can experience system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Order Error Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails are presented as order disputes.
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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"Banco De Espana Email Scam", "Email Disabling Service", "N26 Email Scam", "I Monitored Your Device On The Net For A Long Time", and "Credito Agricola Email Scam" are some examples of other spam campaigns. The letters distributed through these massive operations are usually presented as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority", and similar. Aside from being used for phishing, spam campaigns are also employed for other scams and malware proliferation. The sole purpose of scam emails is to generate revenue at user expense. Due to spam mail's relative prevalence, it is strongly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns infect systems via malicious files sent through them. The scam emails can contain download links of virulent files, and/or the files are attached to the letters. Infectious files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth. When these files are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain (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 - this process starts the moment a document is opened. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users are asked to enable macro commands (i.e., to enable editing/content) and are warned of the risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the system via spam mail, it is expressly advised against opening suspect and irrelevant emails - especially any links or attachments present in them. Additionally, it is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malware is also distributed through untrustworthy download sources (e.g., unofficial and freeware websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, and other third party downloaders), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to only use official and verified download channels. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by genuine developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and remove detected threats and issues. 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 "Order Error" scam email letter:

Subject: Order error and funds withdrawn


Hello,

 

I am actually sending this message to argue a charge in the amount of 149$ on my own account. I lately ordered the items out of your shop but, the card was refused. Although once i reviewed my bank-account exactly the same amount have been removed from my card.

 

Therefore i'm asking for the following error be fixed, that any specific financial expenses related to the disputed balance be added back to my personal bank account, and so that I get a correct report.
In the attachment are copies of my bank statement and the order info. Please correct this debiting error promptly.

 

Statement_Bank


Sincerely

Screenshot of the alternative variant of the "Order Error" email (subject "Purchase malfunction and funds withdrawn"):

Alternative variant of the Order Error scam email

Text presented in this variant:

Subject: Purchase malfunction and funds withdrawn

 

Hi there,

 

I am actually sending this message to dispute a charge in the amount of 337$ on my personal account. I fairly recently purchased the items through your shop however, the card was rejected. But when I checked my banking account identical amount of money have been cashed out from my bank account.

 

Therefore i'm asking for that malfunction be solved, that any finance expenses in connection with the debated balance be awarded back to my personal account, and that I receive a correct report.
In the attachment are copies of my bank report as well as the order information. Please fix this debiting mistake quickly.

Bank_Statement


All the best

Yet another variant of Order Error scam email:

Order Error scam email (2021-02-12)

Text presented within:

Subject: Order error and funds removed

Hello,

I am actually sending this email to claim a charge in the sum of 425$ on my own user account. I a short while ago bought the goods from your store but, my credit card had been rejected. But as i reviewed my bank account the exact same sum has been withdrawn from my bank account.

I'm requiring that fault be solved, that any specific finance expenses related to the disputed amount be credited back to my personal account, and so that I receive a correct statement.
Attached are duplicates of my banking report as well as the order details. Kindly correct the debiting mistake soon.
Bank_Statement


Truly

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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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