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Do not trust UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION COVID ASSISTED PROGRAM emails

Also Known As: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM) spam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" scam email?

"UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" refers to a spam campaign, a large-scale operation during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. This spam campaign targets users from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The scam messages claim that recipients are eligible to receive a payment from the United Nations/COVID-19 relief program.

This spam mail operates as a phishing scam. I.e., its goal is to extract sensitive/personal information from the recipients. It is likely that users can experience severe privacy issues and other serious problems by trusting these emails.

UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM) email spam campaign

The "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" scam emails claim that the recipients have been selected as beneficiaries of the "UN/COVID19 Awarded Payment" program.

The messages state that bank to bank transfers, ATM card, bank draft, and check payments have been suspended due to security concerns raised by the US Homeland Security, FBI, IMF, and other related entities.

Therefore, the email recipients will have their payments sent to them via a package containing a gold box valued at US$5.5 million (USD). The emails ask to reconfirm specific details to have the parcel sent.

The requested information consists of recipients' names and surnames, occupations, phone numbers, current addresses, and nearest airports. How the information obtained through phishing scams is used varies.

The data might be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals) and/or employed to further other scams. For example, scam models similar to "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" often ask victims to make certain payments to receive the promised item (e.g., a gold box in the case of the spam campaign in question).

The bogus payments may be disguised as bank transfers, shipping, storage, and other fees, however, there is no truth in the claims made by such schemes.

Therefore, trusting "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" or other similar scams can lead to serious privacy issues, financial losses, system infections, and identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM) Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Emails claim recipients will receive a huge payment.
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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"Double Your BTC", "MOBI GRAND TELECOM Lottery", "Webmail Email Scam", "Fund Release" are some examples of other spam campaigns.

The emails distributed through these operations are usually presented as "official", "urgent", "important", etc. The messages may even be disguised as mail from legitimate institutions, authorities, organizations, companies, service providers, and other entities.

Regardless of what the scam emails promise, offer, request, or demand, the purpose is the same: to generate profit for the scammers/cyber criminals behind them.

Due to the prevalence of spam mail, exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns infect systems through virulent files distributed via email. Deceptive emails can have infectious files attached to them. Alternatively, the messages can contain download links to the files.

The malicious files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on. When the files are executed, run, or otherwise opened, malware (trojan, ransomware, etc.) download/installation is triggered.

For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. In Microsoft Office versions released before 2010, this process starts when a document is opened.

Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros: users are asked to enable editing/content (i.e., macro commands) and warned of potential threats.

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 presented in the "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" email message:

UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION&COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM) DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT.
United Nations Assisted Program - UK
3 Whitehall Court
London-SW1A 2EL.

 

I am Mrs Hellen Steward, the newly appointed director General in charge of approving & releasing all owed yet unpaid foreign payments and also the special adviser to the United-Nation.  You have been selected through our computer ballot Your Consignment registration #:CT8100AFUK.

 

I am delighted to inform you that the contract/Inheritance panel of the UN/COVID19 Awarded Payment, which just concluded it’s seating in London just released your (E-mail Id & Name) among the currently approved beneficiaries who are to benefit 100% from this very diplomatic 2nd quarter payment of the year. This panel was primarily delegated to investigate  all genuinely owed debts and claims as it has been over due.

 

This package in a Golden metal box valued $5.5Million US (Five million Five hundred thousand Us Dollars)has arrived Dulles International Airport Washington Dc from Heath-row airport London Through Diplomatic sealed.

 

At this moment, I wish to use this medium of communication to inform you that for the time being the (UN) has completely stopped further payment through bank to bank transfer, ATM Card, Bank Draft or Check Payment due to numerous petitions received from the united states home-land security, the FBI, IMF and other financial and security agencies to UK Government against our banks on wrong payment and diversion of innocent beneficiaries owed funds to a different account,the diplomat agent already arrive in the united state with your consignment box conveying the amount to be delivered to you.

 

Please reconfirm these information's : .
1. Your Full Name: .................
2. Your current address: ..........
3. Your phone number: ..............
4. Nearest airport to your location.........
5. Your Occupation: ...............

 

Contact the Delivery  agent

 

Info below to speed up your Delivery Today.
Dulles International Airport Washington dc
Address: 1 Saarinen Cir, Dulles, VA 20166, USA.
Email:(westernpromo123@gmail.com)
Direct Telephone: +1 2705514544
Delivery Man Mr Johnson Nugent

 

Respectfully Yours in-service,
Mrs Hellen Steward.
United Nation Compensation Assisted Program Chief Executive On payment matters.

Appearance of the "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" scam email (GIF):

UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM) scam email appearance (GIF)

Another example of United Nations COVID compensations-themed spam email:

UNITED NATIONS COVID COMPENSATION email scam (2022-05-25)

Text presented within:

Subject: United Nation Covid-19 Relief Fund


Attention!!

From The Office of Secretary General
United Nations Organization.

Following the outbreak and spread of the Corona-virus(Covid-19) Pandemic Globally,  
Your Email - has been chosen for the covid-19 Compensation Funds

Contact Dr. Mustafa Ali, for more information by email at:( officialdrmustafaali@gmail.com ) Your consent in this regard would be highly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Mr. Jimmy Moore.
Undersecretary-General United Nations
Office of Internal Oversight-UNIOS
UN making the world a better place
hxxp://www.un.org/sg/

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Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing 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.

Email-virus icon 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.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

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:

Example of an email spam

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.

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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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