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Avoid getting scammed by the "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" emails

Also Known As: New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold spam
Damage level: Medium

What is "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" email scam?

"New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" refers to an email spam campaign. These emails claim that recipients have pending messages, which they can either release into their inbox or ignore. The scam letters promote a phishing website targeting email account log-in credentials.

New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold email spam campaign

"New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" scam email overview

The fake emails state that recipients have three letters waiting for approval/rejection. The nonexistent messages have payment and contract related titles. When recipients attempt to release the imaginary emails into their inboxes, they are redirected to a phishing site.

The page requests users to sign in using their email account log-in credentials (i.e., email addresses and corresponding passwords). The information typed into this webpage is disclosed to the scammers behind this spam campaign, thereby allowing them to steal the exposed emails.

Emails are targeted as they are typically connected with (e.g., used to register) other accounts, platforms, services, etc. Hence, through stolen mail accounts - control might be gained over the content associated with them.

To elaborate on how this unauthorized access can be abused - finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases. Scammers can also pretend to be the genuine owners of communication accounts (e.g., emails, social media, etc.) and ask contacts for loans or proliferate malware by sharing malicious files/links.

To summarize, by trusting the "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" emails, users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft. If attempts to sign in through the phishing site have already been made - it is crucial to change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support.

Threat Summary:
Name New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam email claim recipients have message pending their approval/rejection.
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

"Microsoft 365 email scam", "MetaMask email scam", ".xlsx document for your preview", and "HP ePrint email scam" are a few examples of phishing emails. Spam letters can seek to obtain a wide variety of sensitive data; they can use other scam models as well. These emails are also employed in malware (e.g., ransomware, trojan, etc.) distribution.

Spam mail is especially widespread - therefore, it is highly recommended to exercise caution with incoming emails and messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can have virulent files attached to them or contain links that download such files. This infectious content can be in various formats, e.g., archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so on. Once opened, these files initiate malware download/installation.

For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands. This process is triggered when a document is opened in pre-2010 Microsoft Office versions. Newer versions have "Protected View" mode that stops it; instead, users can manually enable macros (i.e., editing/content). It is noteworthy that these documents can contain messages designed to lure users into allowing macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is advised against opening dubious and irrelevant emails. The attachments and links found in these letters - must not be opened, as they can cause system infections. It is recommended to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

Additionally, malware is spread via untrustworthy download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc.), illegal activation tools ("cracks"), and fake updates. Therefore, it is crucial to download from official/verified sources and activate/update programs with tools provided by genuine developers.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. This software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats. 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 "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" scam email letter:

Subject: New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold


New incoming messages placed on hold
You have 3 new incoming messages placed on hold

 

Click on Release below to release and deliver pending message(s) to your inbox or reject to ignore.

 

Pending Message(s):

 

1.Subject:RE: PAYMENT CONFIRMATION
Release Reject

 

Date/Time:12:28 PM, MON 22/11

 

2.Subject:RE: New Signed Agreements/Contacts
Release Reject

 

Date/Time:12:49 PM, MON 22/11

 

3.Subject:Invoices
ReleaseReject

 

Date/Time:12:51 PM, MON 22/11

 
Move all pending messages to Inbox

 

If you have any questions, please visit our online help center or contact Customer Support.
 

© Mail support. All rights reserved.
700 S. Flower St., 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017

 

This account is subject to the terms listed in the mail User Agreement.

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" spam campaign:

New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold scamm email promoted phishing site

Another example of "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" spam promoting a phishing site:

New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold spam email (2022-04-04)

Text presented within:

Subject: Pending incoming messages: Action Required

 

Dear -,
Your incoming messages has been placed on-hold due to some mailbox interruptions.
Go to Email account settings below to review held messages and fix bugs.
 
Email Account Settings

Failure to review your account may cause login interruption.

-
Copyright © 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Screenshot of the promoted phishing site:

Phishing site promoted via New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold spam email (2022-04-04)

Yet another variant of "New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold" spam email:

New Incoming Messages Placed On Hold spam email (2022-07-26)

Text presented within:

Subject: Incoming Mail Error

 

Attention: -

Some incoming messages are queued in the server due to error.

Your sessions needs to be re-authenticated in the browser.

Use the button below to fix error

Fix Autentication Error

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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?

Thousands of users receive the same spam email as they are distributed in mass-scale operations. This mail is not personal.

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

If you've provided account credentials - change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and contact their official support. And if you have disclosed other personal information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the relevant authorities.

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

No, merely reading a spam email will not trigger any infection processes. Malware download/installation is initiated by opening email attachments or the links presented in spam letters.

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

If the opened file was an executable - most likely, yes - your system was infected. However, you might have avoided triggering such processes if the file was a document (e.g., .pdf, .doc, etc.). These formats can require additional actions (e.g., macro command enablement) to start downloading/installing malicious software.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. However, it must be emphasized that running a full system scan is crucial - since high-end malicious programs usually hide deep within the system.

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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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