Avoid getting scammed by "New Contract Documents Received" phishing email

Also Known As: New Contract Documents Received phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is the "New Contract Documents Received" email?

"New Contract Documents Received" is a spam email that we inspected and classified as a phishing scam. This letter attempts to trick the recipient into disclosing their email account log-in credentials by claiming they have been sent documents concerning a new contract.

New Contract Documents Received email spam campaign

"New Contract Documents Received" scam email overview

The spam email with the subject "File documents sent via secure channel for [recipient's_email_address]" informs that new contract documents have been received. These files are stated to be copies of a purchase order/ sales agreement. The tagline of the spam email claims that the sender was verified as safe.

It must be emphasized that all the information provided by the "New Contract Documents Received" email - is false. When the "Preview attached documents" button is clicked, it redirects to a phishing website. We noted that the page's design could vary according to the recipient's email account.

The phishing site states that the session expired and requests the visitor to sign back into their email account. The passwords entered into this webpage will be disclosed to the scammers behind this spam campaign. Cyber criminals may acquire access/control over content registered through a stolen email; hence, victims can experience various issues.

To elaborate, scammers can assume the victim's identity and use their social accounts (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, etc.) to ask the contacts/friends for loans or distribute malware by sharing malicious files/links. Finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, e-commerce, digital wallets, etc.) can be used to make unauthorized transactions and online purchases.

To summarize, by trusting a spam email like "New Contract Documents Received" - users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

Threat Summary:
Name New Contract Documents Received phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients have been sent contract documents regarding a new purchase order/ sales agreement.
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 spam campaign examples

"Your Account Needs Attention!", "Habib Bank AG Zurich", "Removal From Server Has Been Approved And Initiated", and "Notification Of DHL Shipment" are just a few examples of emails similar to "New Contract Documents Received".

Spam letters can wear various disguises; they are often presented as messages from legitimate entities (e.g., service providers, authorities, organizations, companies, etc.). In addition to phishing and other scams, spam mail is also used to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, cryptominers, ransomware, etc.).

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails are commonly used to spread malware. They can have virulent files as attachments or contain links leading to malicious websites (capable of stealthily downloading/installing malicious software or ones designed to deceive visitors into doing so themselves).

Infectious files can be Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth. When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain is triggered.

For example, when virulent MS documents are opened in pre-2010 Microsoft Office versions, they immediately execute malicious macro commands - thus beginning the malware download/installation process. Later MS Office versions have "Protected View" mode; hence, users have to manually enable macros (i.e., allow editing/content). Note that infectious documents can contain deceptive messages to trick users into enabling macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly advise exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant emails - must not be opened/clicked, as that can result in a malware infection. Additionally, we recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

However, malware is proliferated using various techniques. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official and trustworthy sources. Furthermore, software must be activated and updated with tools provided by legitimate developers, as those obtained from third-parties may include malicious content.

We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected 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 Contract Documents Received" email letter:

Subject: File documents sent via secure channel for ********

This sender has been verified from ******** safe senders list.
New Contract Documents Received For ********

You have 2 file document(s) from purchase@fintech.com**. 
Pages     2 - Purchase Order/Sales agreement copy.
Received     Tuesday, February 23, 2022
To view Fax, please refer to attachment and authenticate user to enable instant access to all your fax messages on the go.

Preview attached documents

© 2022 ******** Corporation.

Screenshot of the phishing website promoted by the "New Contract Documents Received" spam campaign:

New Contract Documents Received scam email promoted 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?

Spam emails are not personal; thousands of users receive the same email.

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

If you have disclosed account credentials - immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts. And if you have provided other personal information (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) - contact the relevant authorities without delay.

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

No, merely opening a spam email will not trigger any infection processes. Malware download/installation is jumpstarted when the attachments files or linked websites are opened.

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

If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - then, most likely - yes. However, you might have avoided triggering an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional user interaction (e.g., macro command enablement, etc.) - to initiate malware download/installation.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating almost all known malware infections. Keep in mind that high-end malware usually hides deep in the system. For this reason, running a full system scan is a must.

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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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