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Avoid losing your email account via "Proof Of Payment" phishing email

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

"Proof Of Payment email scam" removal guide

What is the "Proof Of Payment" scam email?

"Proof Of Payment email scam" refers to a spam campaign - a mass-scale operation during which deceptive emails are sent by the thousand. The letters distributed through this campaign - claim to contain a payment-related document attached to them. The fake attachment redirects to a phishing website, which is presented as an email account sign-in page. The site is designed to record log-in credentials (i.e., passwords) entered into it, thereby allowing the scammers access to the vulnerable information and the associated mail account.

Proof Of Payment email spam campaign

The "Proof Of Payment" scam emails (subject/title "Fwd: 0970331_receipt-MT103"; may vary) contain a brief message. It claims that the "Sales team manager" is currently unavailable; hence, proof of payment has been sent to the recipient. The letters do not have a file attached to them - they contain an image of a PDF document. When this image is clicked on, recipients are redirected to a website. As mentioned in the introduction, the site promoted by these emails is a phishing website. It is disguised as an email account log-in page. Any passwords entered into this site will be unintentionally revealed to the scammers behind the spam campaign. Therefore, by attempting to sign-in through the webpage - recipients will have their mail account stolen.

Emails are of particular interest to scammers as they are typically connected to other accounts, platforms, services, etc. Hence, through a hijacked mail - access may be gained to associated accounts. To elaborate on how they can be abused, then communication platforms (e.g., emails, social networking/media, messengers, etc.) can be used to assume the genuine owner's identity and ask their friends/contacts for loans. Alternatively, through these accounts, scammers can proliferate malware - by sharing infectious files/links. Finance-related platforms and services (e.g., banking, online money transferring, digital wallet, e-commerce, and similar accounts) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. To summarize, by trusting the "Proof Of Payment" scam letters, users can lose their email accounts and experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If attempts to sign-in through the phishing website have already been made - it is strongly advised to change the passwords of the compromised email and the accounts connected to it. Additionally, it is recommended to contact the official support of all potentially exposed platforms.

Threat Summary:
Name Proof Of Payment Email Scam 
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim to contain proof of payment documents attached to them.
Related Domains likeable-quintessential-mice.glitch[.]me
Detection Names (likeable-quintessential-mice.glitch[.]me) CyRadar (Malicious), ESET (Phishing), Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (likeable-quintessential-mice.glitch[.]me) 52.22.118.126
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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"Password is about to expire today", "Mail Quota", and "clustered e-mails pending" are a couple examples of spam campaigns similar to "Proof Of Payment email scam". These large-scale operations are used for phishing, various other scams, and even malware (e.g., trojan, ransomware, etc.) proliferation. The emails are usually presented as "important", "urgent", "priority", and so on. They may be disguised as mail from legitimate authorities, institutions, organizations, companies, service providers, and other entities. The sole purpose of deceptive/scam letters is to generate profit for the scammers/ cyber criminals behind them. Due to how widespread spam mail is, it is advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected via virulent files distributed through spam campaigns. These files can be attached to the emails and/or linked inside them. Malicious files can be in various formats, e.g., PDF and Microsoft Office, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth. When they are executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection process (i.e., malware download/installation) is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. This process begins automatically upon the document's opening - in Microsoft Office versions released prior to 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macro commands. Instead, users are asked to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content) and warned of the risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

To avoid infecting the device via spam mail, it is advised against opening suspect and irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Aside from spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated through untrustworthy download sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updates. Therefore, it is important to only use official and verified download channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software has to be used to run 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 "Proof Of Payment" scam email letter:

Subject: Fwd: 0970331_receipt-MT103


Dear Sir,

 

Our Sales team manager is out of office, please find below the proof of payment for your ref.


Thank you.

 

Linda Thorndyke
Accounts Office
Office: 020 8894 4540
Mobile: 07834 772655

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "Proof Of Payment" spam campaign:

Proof Of Payment email scam promoted phishing website

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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