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Avoid being scammed by "Facebook Lottery" emails

Also Known As: Facebook Lottery spam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Facebook Lottery" scam email?

"Facebook Lottery" is a spam email campaign, a large-scale operation during which deceptive email messages are sent by the thousand. This campaign is in no way associated with Facebook, Inc. and all of the information provided by these emails is false.

The scam messages claim that recipients have been selected as one of the three winners of a fake lottery. This spam mail operates as a phishing scam. I.e., the purpose is to extract sensitive/personal information and use it for nefarious purposes.

Facebook Lottery email spam campaign

"Facebook Lottery" email scam overview

The "Facebook Lottery" scam emails (subject/title "CONGRATULATIONS!!!" may vary) claim that recipients have been randomly chosen as one of three winners of the 2020/2021 "Facebook" lottery. The fake prize is stated to be five million US dollars.

Recipients are assigned a pin code, which they are instructed to keep confidential. To receive their winnings, the following information must be sent to the listed email addresses: full name, age, sex, telephone number, occupation, contact address, country, and "lucky number" (the pin code).

None of the claims made by these scam messages are authentic, and thus they must never be trusted. The information obtained via phishing schemes can be used in a variety of ways. For example, it can be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals). Alternatively, the data can be used to further other, more personalized scams.

Additionally, the bogus prize giveaway/raffle scam model often asks victims to make monetary transactions. They may be asked to pay transaction, subscription, registration, shipping, storage, or different hoax fees.

In summary, by trusting the "Facebook Lottery" emails, recipients can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name Facebook Lottery Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam emails claim recipients have won a huge sum of money.
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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Phishing spam campaign examples

"Banca Sella email scam", "PASSWORD EXPIRATION NOTICE", "MOBI GRAND TELECOM Lottery", "Banca Popolare di Bari", and "Facebook email scam" are some examples of other phishing spam campaigns.

The emails distributed through these operations are usually presented as "urgent", "important", "priority", and similar. They may even be disguised as mail from real institutions, organizations, companies, service providers, and other entities. Spam campaigns aim to generate revenue at recipients' expense.

Scam messages are used not only for phishing but also to facilitate different scams and proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, etc.). Due to the widespread nature of spam mail, exercise caution with incoming emails.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Typically, ransomware and other malware is distributed through malspam campaigns, fake software updating tools, untrusted download sources, unofficial (third party) software activation tools and Trojans. Users infect computers with malware when they open malicious files that they receive via email.

These emails often contain malicious attachments or websites designed to download dangerous files. In most cases, cyber criminals send emails that have Microsoft Office documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, JavaScript files, and executable files such as .exe attached to them. Fake software updating tools do not update or fix any installed software - they simply install malware instead.

They can also infect systems by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Examples of dubious file/software download channels are Peer-to-Peer networks such as torrent clients, eMule, various free file hosting sites and freeware download websites.

Users infect computers through these channels when they download and execute malicious files, which are often disguised as legitimate and regular. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly activate licensed software free of charge (illegally), however, rather than activating anything, they often install malicious programs.

Trojans are rogue programs that, if installed, install other malware (causing chain infections).

How to avoid installation of malware

To avoid malware spread via spam mail, you are strongly advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those with any attachments or links present within them.

Additionally, use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010. Malicious programs also proliferate through untrusted download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders), illegal software activation ("cracking") tools, and fake updaters.

Therefore, only download from official/verified sources and activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

To ensure device integrity and user privacy, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, use these programs to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats.

If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Subject: CONGRATULATIONS!!!

 

Facebook Lottery Team

 

REF: online splash promo.

 

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

 

We (Facebook Lottery Team) proudly announce! that your E-MAIL ACCOUNT
has been luckily selected among the Three  lucky winners who has won
the sum of ($5,000,000.00USD)  in the Beginning of the year 2020/2021,
Facebook lottery automatic random selection. Your winning pin is QWC22/2022/5849.
Note you are to keep your pin confidential for security
reasons.

 

Kindly forward below details to:
Contact Person: Mr. David Wehner,
E-mail: davidwehhnr30@gmail.com


(**) Your Full names:
(**) Your Telephone Number
(**) Your Contact address:
(**) Your Occupation:
(**) Your Country:
(**) Your Age & Sex:
(**) And your lucky number above:


Facebook Department

Appearance of the "Facebook Lottery" scam email (GIF):

Facebook Lottery scam email appearance (GIF)

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Quick menu:

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Spam emails are not personal. These letters are distributed in mass-scale operations - hence, thousands of users receive identical emails.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?

If you have disclosed account log-in credentials - change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have revealed other private information (e.g., ID card details - personally identifiable data, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact relevant authorities.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, opening such an email will not jumpstart any system infection processes. Malware download/installation is triggered when the attachments or links present in spam mail are opened/clicked.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

If it was an executable - most likely, yes - your system was infected. However, you might have avoided triggering an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to begin downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating most of the known malware infections. It has to be stressed that running a complete system scan is paramount - as high-end malicious software tends to hide deep within systems.

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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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