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Avoid getting scammed by the "The BMW Lottery" emails

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Damage level: Medium

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 spam campaign

"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.

Threat Summary:
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)

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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?

Spam campaigns spread malware via infectious files distributed through them. These files can be attached to the emails and/or linked inside them. Virulent files can be in various formats, e.g., PDF and Microsoft Office documents, archives, executables, JavaScript, etc.

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


Dear Winner,

 

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
Email: andrew.barker095@gmail.com


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
winnings.

 

Congratulations, from all our staff and thank you for being part of
our promotional program.


Regards,

 

Mr. Ludwig Willisch
CEO and President
BMW of North America
BMW GROUP
United States of America

Appearance of the "The BMW Lottery" scam email (GIF):

The BMW Lottery scam email appearance (GIF)

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Quick menu:

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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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 Combo Cleaner Antivirus 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.

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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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