What is "The BMW Lottery email scam"?
"The BMW Lottery email scam" refers to a spam campaign - a large-scale operation during which thousands of deceptive emails are sent. These letters claim that recipients have won a new BMW 7 automobile and 1,5 million in US dollars.
It must be emphasized that these emails are fake, and users will not receive any of the promised prizes. These emails operate as phishing scams targeting personally identifiable information. Trusting them can lead to serious privacy issues, significant financial losses, and identity theft.
"The BMW Lottery" email in detail
The "The BMW Lottery" scam emails inform victims that they have been selected to receive a new BMW 7 model car and a 1,500,000.00 USD check. The letters go on to describe the automobile and optional additions to it. The recipients are told that they were selected randomly through a computerized process.
To create the impression of legitimacy, these emails also mention the names of real and genuine-sounding entities. Recipients are then urged to provide the following information: full name, nationality, age, sex, residential country and address, occupation, email address, and telephone number.
Phishing scams in detail
Data obtained through phishing scams can be monetized by being sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals) and/or used to create personalized schemes. Additionally, scams like "The BMW Lottery" often request victims to make direct payments to the scammers.
For example, they can be asked to pay shipping, transaction, storage, registration, and other fake fees. Scammers often request the payments to be made via dubious gateways, which operate by recording the information entered into them (e.g., online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.).
This data can then be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or unauthorized online purchases. To summarize, by trusting the "The BMW Lottery" scam emails, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||The BMW Lottery Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scam emails claim recipients have won a car and a large 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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Spam campaigns in general
"Mail Delivery Failure", "Anti-spam policy violation", and "UN Covid-19 stimulus package" are a few examples of phishing spam campaigns. These letters are usually presented as "urgent", "priority", "important", and/or disguised as messages from legitimate companies, institutions, organizations, and other entities.
Spam mail is not used exclusively for phishing and other scams. Deceptive emails are also employed to proliferate trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and other malware. Due to the prevalence of spam, it is strongly advised to exercise caution with incoming emails.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When the files are executed, run, or otherwise are opened - malware download/installation is initiated. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands. This process starts the moment a document is opened in Microsoft Office versions released before 2010.
Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macros. Instead, users can manually enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), and they are warned of the potential risks.
How to avoid installation of malware?
It is advised against opening dubious/irrelevant emails - especially any attachments or links present in them. Malware is also proliferated through untrustworthy download sources (e.g., unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates.
Therefore, it is recommended to download only from official and verified channels. Additionally, it is important to activate and update software with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.
To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept updated. These programs have to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats and issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.
Text presented in the "The BMW Lottery" scam email letter:
Subject: Congatulations: You Have Been Selected For A BMW Car Prize...
BMW of North America, LLC
300 Chestnut Ridge Road.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7731
United States of America
This is to inform you that you have been selected for a prize of a
brand new Model BMW 7 Series Car and a Check of $1,500,000.00 USD from
the international balloting programs held on the 2nd section in the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Description of prize vehicle;
Model: 750li Color (exterior): Metallic Silver Mileage: 5
Transmission: Automatic 6 Speed
Options: Cold weather package, premium package, fold-down rear seats
w/ski bag, am FM stereo with a single in-dash compact disc player.
The selection process was carried out through random selection in our
computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over
250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world
which you were selected.
The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also
Licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).
To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our fiduciary
claims department for more information as regards procedures to the
claim of your prize
Name: Andrew Barker
Contact him by providing him with your Reg. pin code Number: 0011185003/25
You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information
as soon as possible:
1. Name In Full :
2. Residential Address :
3. Nationality :
4. Age :
5. Sex :
6. Occupation :
7. Direct Phone :
8. Present Country :
9. Email address :
10. Reg pin code Number: 0011185003/25
Please, you are to provide him with the above-listed details as soon
as possible so he can begin with the processing of your prize
Congratulations, from all our staff and thank you for being part of
our promotional program.
Mr. Ludwig Willisch
CEO and President
BMW of North America
United States of America
Appearance of the "The BMW Lottery" scam email (GIF):
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- What is The BMW Lottery spam?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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.