Ignore the stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments scam

Also Known As: Stopped Processing Incoming Emails And PDF Attachments spam
Damage level: Medium

What is Stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments scam?

Typically, scammers behind phishing emails pretend to be legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. Their main goal is to trick recipients into providing personal information directly via email or through a deceptive website. Scammers use phishing emails to extract credit card details, passwords, or other sensitive information.

Stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments phishing campaign

Stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments scam in detail

This phishing email is disguised as a final notice letter from Microsoft regarding a problem with incoming emails and attachments. Scammers behind this email attempt to trick recipients into believing that Microsoft has stopped processing incoming emails and files attached to them (PDF documents).

In order to avoid losing incoming emails, recipients are encouraged to update their Microsoft account via the provided "Update New Version" link. The provided link opens a fake Microsoft website asking to log in to Microsoft accounts using an email address, phone number, Skype name, and password.

Scammers behind this phishing campaign try to extract login credentials for Microsoft accounts from unsuspecting users. It is likely that they seek to use stolen accounts to access personal documents or other files stored on OneDrive, trick other users into sharing sensitive information, send phishing emails, etc.

Also, scammers may try to use stolen credentials to access other accounts (e.g., social media, email accounts). If succeeded, they may use accessed accounts to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, deliver malware, steal identities, and so on. Although, it concerns mainly users who use the same login credentials for multiple accounts.

Threat Summary:
Name Stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Microsoft has stopped processing incoming emails
Disguise Letter from the Microsoft company
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 emails in general

In conclusion, scammers behind phishing emails attempt to extract personal information. Typically, they disguise their emails as official, important letters from legitimate entities. More examples of phishing emails are "Mail Delivery Failure", "Novo Banco" and "CMA CGM". It is important to mention that emails can be used to deliver malware too.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Usually, emails that cybercriminals send with the purpose to distribute malware contain malicious files (attachments) or website links. Recipients infect their computers when they execute (open) a downloaded malicious file, for example, Microsoft Office, PDF documents, executable files, archive files, JavaScript files.

It is worthwhile to mention that not all malicious files that cybercriminals send via email install malware once they are opened. For example, malicious documents opened with MS Office 2010 and newer versions do not install malware unless users enable macros commands (editing/content) in them.

Although, malicious documents opened with older MS Office versions do not need permission to enable macros to install malicious software - they infect computers automatically. It is because older versions do not include the "Protected View" mode which prevents malicious documents from installing malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Irrelevant emails received from unknown senders and containing attachments or website links should be ignored. It is common that emails of this kind are disguised as important letters and contain malicious files, links. Also, files and programs should be downloaded only from official websites (and via direct links).

It is common that other sources (third-party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages) are used as tools to trick users into downloading (and then opening) malicious files. Furthermore, installed software has to be activated and updated with tools (or functions) provided by its official developer.

It is never safe to use third-party updaters or cracking tools to update or activate software - they often have malware hidden in them. Besides, it is not legal to use cracking tools (or installers for pirated software) to avoid paying for legitimate/licensed programs.

And finally, the operating system should be scanned with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. It is advisable to do it regularly and keep the installed security suite up to date. 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 Stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments phishing email:



This is to notify you for the final time  that we have stopped processing incoming emails and PDF attachments on your account.

To cover new Microsoft products, services and features. Update below to avoid losing your mails.

Update New Version

This email was sent from an unmonitored mailbox.
Privacy Statement

Microsoft Corporation, O‍ne Mi‍crosoft Wa‍y, Redm‍ond, WA 98052 U‍SA

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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.

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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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