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Avoid getting scammed by the "Track & Trace" emails

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

"Track & Trace email scam" removal guide

What is the "Track & Trace" scam email?

"Track & Trace" refers to an email spam campaign. This term defines a mass-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. The letters distributed through this campaign target Dutch-speaking users. These emails claim that the recipients' tracking service is missing their address; hence, their account will be suspended unless the issue is resolved. The goal of the "Track & Trace" scam letters is to gain and abuse recipients' trust - for profit.

Track & Trace email spam campaign

According to a rough translation, the "Track & Trace" scam emails (subject/title "volg uw iphone anyware en elk moment"; may vary) request recipients to provide a valid address. The previously given address cannot be verified, and this must be resolved. The verification must be accomplished within 48 hours, else recipients' accounts will be suspended and pending orders canceled. The letters warn against creating other accounts and/or making new orders - before the problem is solved. When the buttons/links present in these scam emails are clicked, recipients are redirected to a deceptive website. By interacting with this page - users initiate the scam's next phase.

It is unclear exactly how the "Track & Trace" scam generates revenue. This type of spam mail uses several methods. It can operate as a phishing scam. To elaborate, these schemes target sensitive/personal information, e.g., names, surnames, addresses, emails, telephone numbers, various account/platform usernames and passwords, banking account details, credit card numbers, etc. The collected data can then be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals) and/or used to further other scams. Deceptive emails may also request recipients to make monetary transactions for bogus reasons, e.g., pay fake shipping, transaction, registration, subscription, and similar fees. To summarize, by trusting the "Track & Trace" emails, recipients can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, identity theft, and other serious problems.

Threat Summary:
Name Track & Trace Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients need to verify their address.
Related Domains contactgo[.]co
Detection Names (contactgo[.]co) alphaMountain.ai (Spam), Fortinet (Spam), Spamhaus (Spam), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (contactgo[.]co) 104.21.31.160
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 ETHEREUM", "Proof Of Payment", "Password Is About To Expire Today", "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION (COVID19 ASSISTED PROGRAM)" - are some examples of other spam campaigns. The emails sent through these operations - are usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority", and so on. Aside from phishing and other scams, spam mail is also used to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.). Regardless of what deceptive letters promise, offer, request, or demand, the end-goal is always the same - to generate profit for the scammers/ cyber criminals behind them. Due to the relative prevalence of scam mail, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected via virulent files, which are distributed through spam campaigns. The files can be attached to the emails, and/or the letters can contain download links of such content. Infectious files can be in a variety of formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth. When the 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. This process begins upon a document's opening - in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users are asked to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content) and alerted of the potential risks.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Suspicious and irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially any attachments or links present in them. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malware is also distributed via 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 illegitimate updates. Therefore, it is advised to only use official and verified download sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. It is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. This software must be used to perform regular system scans and remove detected threats. 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 "Track & Trace" scam email letter:

Subject: volg uw iphone anyware en elk moment

 

ADRES ONTBREEKT                  

                                  

Gelieve ons een geldig adres te verstrekken
om dit probleem op te lossen.


Uw adres bevestigen

 

Hallo,
 

We kunnen uw adres niet verifieren. Gelieve ons een geldig adres te verstrekken om dit probleem op te lossen.

 

Uw trackingnummer:
8E3428632-20

 

Indien we de verificatie niet binnen 48 uur, kunnen voltooien, worden alle hangende bestellingen geannuleerd. We hebben uw account tijdelijk opgeschort en IJ kunt er geen toegang toe krijgen voordat u ons de benodigde informatie heeft verstrekt.


We vragen u vriendelijk om geen nieuwe accounts te openen of nieuwe bestellingen te plaatsen totdat deze kwestie is opgelost.


Als u geen mail van ons wilt ontvangen, kunt u hier  terecht.

Screenshot of the website promoted by the "Track & Trace" spam campaign:

Track & Trace email scam promoted 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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