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How to recognize phishing emails like the Purchase Contract email scam?

Also Known As: Purchase Contract spam
Damage level: Medium

What is Purchase Contract email scam?

It is a phishing email used to trick recipients into providing email login credentials on a fake Roundcube website. Roundcube is a web-based IMAP email client that has nothing to do with this phishing email. This email must be ignored.

Purchase Contract email scam email spam campaign

Purchase Contract phishing email in detail

Scammers behind this email ask recipients to review a purchase contract by logging into a website via the "Purchase contract.PDF" hyperlink. A page that the provided hyperlink opens is a fake Roundcube Webmail login page. Scammers seek to trick recipients into entering their email address and password on that page.

Entering login credentials on fake websites can result in losing access to personal accounts. Depending on the type of stolen accounts, they could be used to steal identities, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, distribute malware, deliver spam, and so on.

Threat Summary:
Name Purchase Contract Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The provided link can be used to review a purchase contract
Disguise Letter from a supplier
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

Phishing emails usually are disguised as important, urgent letters from legitimate entities. It is common for them to contain a link designed to open a website asking for personal information. Examples of phishing emails are "Microsoft 365 Email Scam", "MetaMask Email Scam", WalletConnect Email Scam". It is important to know that emails can be malicious.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals behind malicious emails attempt to trick recipients into opening a malicious attachment or a website link designed used for malware distribution. They can use Microsoft Office, PDF documents, executable files, JavaScript files, archive files (and other files) to trick users into infecting computers.

Malicious documents opened with MS Office 2010 and later do not infect computers until macros commands are enabled. MS Office versions released before 2010 do not have the Protected View mode. Malicious documents opened with those versions infect computers without asking any permission.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open email attachments (and website links) in emails that are not relevant and sent from suspicious, unknown addresses. Use official websites and direct links as sources for downloading software and files. Avoid using other sources. Update and activate installed software using tools provided by its official developer.

Have a reliable antivirus program installed on a computer and keep it up to date. Scan the operating system with it regularly. 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 Purchase Contract email scam:

Subject: Purchase Contract 17/402

Dear Sir

  1. find revised P/O

Purchase contract.PDF

We remain at your disposal.

Thanks and best regards,

-

Screenshot of the phishing website (fake Roundcube login page):

purchase contract email scam phishing website

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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?

Scammers behind phishing emails send the same email to all people in their database. As a rule, such emails are not personal.

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

Users who have provided information such as account login credentials (for example, usernames, email addresses, passwords) should change their passwords as soon as possible. If the provided information is card details, social security numbers, and other details, it is recommended to contact corresponding authorities.

If an email has a file attached to it, but that file has not been opened, is a computer infected?

File or links in emails used to distribute malware cannot computers unless they are opened. Computers get infected after executing a malicious file.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. It is recommended to scan the system fully since malicious programs can hide deep in the operating 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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