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Ignore the LUCKY WINNER OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS email scam

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

LUCKY WINNER OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS Email Scam removal guide

What is LUCKY WINNER OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS email scam?

There are many different versions of email scams claiming to be from lottery organizers or other organizations, companies, and informing recipients that they have won a certain amount of money. Typically, scammers behind these emails attempt to trick unsuspecting recipients into providing personal information or into paying a "processing fee", some "taxes", "shipping charges," etc., to claim their prize. In one way or another, all these email scams should be ignored. Nobody ever received any prize from scammers behind these emails.

LUCKY WINNER OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS email scam

In this particular case, scammers attempt to trick recipients into believing that their email address was randomly selected as a winner of 1.5 million dollars. They claim that there the European Union, United States government, United Kingdom, and some other international institutes have collaborated and created a program to support one individual during the Covid-19 pandemic. They also claim that the winning will be returned to the Ministry of Economy if it is not claimed before May 30, 2021 (the date may be different in other scam variants). Their main goal is to trick recipients into writing an email to andrewalter@seznam.cz for further instructions on how to claim their prize. It is likely that after being contacted, scammers would ask for some personal information such as name, surname, address, telephone number, bank account number, credit card details, and so on. They also could ask to pay a "tax" or another fee to claim the prize. Depending on the provided information, scammers may misuse it in various ways. For example, they could sell it on the darknet (or other cybercriminals), use it to make unauthorized purchases, transactions, etc. In other cases, scammers would receive money (paid "fees") and give nothing in return.

Threat Summary:
Name LUCKY WINNER OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients have been chosen as winners of 1.5 million dollars
Disguise Final award notification
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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Typically, prizes that recipients supposedly have won are from the lotteries that they did not even enter. Other suspicious details about such scams is that recipients are asked to provide personal details, pay some fee to collect "winnings". More examples of similar scams are "MOBI GRAND TELECOM Lottery Email Scam", "EURO MILLIONS INTL. LOTTO COMMISSION Email Scam", and "INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) Email Scam". It is important to mention that email can be used not just to extract money or personal information but also to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Recipients install malware via email when they open a malicious file (attachment or a file downloaded via website link). Typically, cybercriminals make their emails look like important, official, urgent letters sent from a legitimate, trustworthy company, organization, etc. It is common that cybercriminals use existing company names and names of real people. Usually, they attach some file that is supposed to be some invoice or other document and hope that recipients will open it. A couple of examples of files that phishing/malspam emails usually have attached to them are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, archive files like ZIP, RAR, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files. It is noteworthy that when a malicious document is opened with Microsoft Office 2010 or later, it asks to enable macros commands (editing, content). It cannot install malware without being allowed to run malicious macros. Although, older MS Office versions do not have the "Protected View" mode and install malware without asking to enable macros.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Files and programs should be downloaded via direct links and from reliable, official websites. It is not recommended to use other sources, such as third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks like eMule, torrent clients, unofficial pages, and so on. It is not recommended to use third-party installers too. Attachments, website links in received irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious senders should not be opened as well. Quite often, such emails are used to trick recipients into installing malicious programs on their computers. Installed programs must be updated and activated using tools or implemented functions that their developers provide. Any other (third-party, unofficial) tools are reliable. Most of them are malicious. Also, it is never legal to activate licensed software using unofficial tools (or use pirated software). An operating system should be scanned for threats regularly. It is recommended to scan it using a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite. 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 LUCKY WINNER OF 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS email:

Subject: RE-CONFIRMATION

FINAL AWARD NOTIFICATION                                    March/03/2021
Lucky Winner,

We are delighted to inform you that your email was randomely selected by MAIL DOMAIN, SUPPORTED BY GOOGLE, MOZILLA FIREFOX AND ALL THE BIG TECH.
The program was designed and promoted by EU in collaboration with US Government,UK and some other international institutes to support individual randomly due to the devastating effect of the COVID-19 that has ravaged the world economy. This has been one of the biggest  in the world which aimed at changing the lives of millions of people. To enable us proceed with your claims, this information must be kept away from the public to avoid unwarranted abuse of the program or fraudulent claims by unauthorized person(s).
you are randomly selected as a LUCKY WINNER OF (1.5 MILLION DOLLARS) ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSANDS DOLLARS. This is to support you to start any business of your choice.This decision was made on 03-03-2021 in BRUSSEL.
To begin your claims, contact: Dr.Andre Walter finance disbursement manager of the foreign finance service manager/Remittance officer (EU) UK branch.E-MAIL: andrewalter@seznam.cz
+447537176010 Lines open Monday to Friday 9AM to 10PM, Saturday 9AM TO 6PM (GMT) for the processing and remittance of your Winnings. Also be informed that 5% of your Winning belongs to finance Securities, because they are the promotion company. You are expected to be in our UK Office to claim and sign your fund legalization documents and collect your winning cheque. If you are unable to travel to the UK, a diplomatic home delivery and Insurance fee will be paid by you to our accredited diplomatic Agent in UK or United States of America, before your winning certified Cashiers’ Cheque will be delivered to you at your home address. Consequently a Telegraphic Wire transfer could also be made directly into your bank account depending how convenient it is for you; however you must be responsible for the cost of Transfer. This is the responsibility of the winner.
Finally all winning must be claimed not later than May/30/2021. After this date, the entire Fund will be returned to the Ministry of Economy as unclaimed funds. Furthermore should there be any change of your personal details or address, do inform your claims agent as soon as possible.

YOURS SINCERELY
Mr.Ben Gibson
promotion manager
(EU) UK branch.

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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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