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How to recognize phishing emails like Spam Quarantine Inbox

Also Known As: Spam Quarantine Inbox phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Spam Quarantine Inbox"?

We have analyzed the text and links presented in this email and concluded that it is a typical phishing email that scammers use to trick recipients into providing sensitive information. It is disguised as a letter from an email service provided. It contains links to phishing websites asking to enter login credentials.

Spam Quarantine Inbox email scam

"Spam Quarantine Inbox" email scam in detail

Scammers behind this email attempt to trick recipients into believing that several incoming emails have been suspended due to the exceeded quota limit. The email contains "Deliver", "Whitelist", and "Delete" hyperlinks designed to open a fake Webmail page asking to enter login credentials (email address and password).

Providing login credentials on the website presented in this phishing email allows scammers to hijack email and other accounts accessed using the provided information. Having personal accounts stolen can lead to monetary loss, identity theft, and other issues. Those accounts may be used to send this (or other) phishing emails, deliver malware, and other malicious purposes.

Threat Summary:
Name Spam Quarantine Inbox Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Mailbox quota exceeded
Disguise Letter from email service provider
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

Scammers behind emails of this type impersonate legitimate companies or other entities. Either way, their goal is to trick recipients into providing sensitive information. Examples of similar scams are "NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION Email Scam", "Your Transfer Expires In Two Days! Email Scam", "Validate Now Email Scam". It is important to know that links and files in emails can be malicious.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

When an email is sent by cybercriminals who attempt to trick recipients into infecting computers with malware, it contains a malicious attachment or link. Computers get infected after a malicious file downloaded from an email is executed. Examples of files used in malspam campaigns are MS Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, executables, archives.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open files and links in suspicious emails sent from unknown addresses. Usually, emails used to deliver malware are not relevant to their recipients. Also, they are disguised as important/official letters from legitimate entities. Download software from legitimate sources - use official websites and direct links to download software and files.

Keep the operating system and programs installed on it up to date. Use tools provided by the official developers to update and activate the software. 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 "Spam Quarantine Inbox email scam" email letter:

Subject: CAUTION : 4 INCOMING MESSAGES SUSPENDED DUE TO EMAIL QUOTA LIMIT EXCEEDED

 

Dear - ,

Your email box ******** has 4 incoming message(s) in spam quarantine inbox

11/03/2022

02:43
E-Advice-Outward Remittance 09OTT0920C064070
JollyBalloon - Nelson
From: accounts@hsbcbank.com
To:  ********
Deliver Whitelist Delete

12/03/2022

14:34
Fwd: Order Request 200238 [2]
Martin Ellies Maximus
From: sales1@acelity.com
To: ********
Deliver Whitelist Delete

14/03/2022

04:17
Contract/Project POGHMB106785 Attached.
Zhou Chris Wu
From: info.s001.bestmexports.@163.com
To: ********
Deliver Whitelist Delete

14/03/2022

07:48
Open Proforma Invoice & TT copy.
michele sousa silva
From: mi_zuanne@yahoo.com.br
To:  ********
Deliver Whitelist Delete
Manage Mailbox: Spam(4)
This is your mailbox quarantine summary from the - Anti-Spam System for ******** .

The quarantine report is generated at 6:00am. To view the most update spam folder or blacklist sender, please login your email.
Deliver Deliver the message to your mailbox.
Whitelist Deliver the message to your mailbox and white list the sender so that his/her message will no longer be quarantined.
Delete Delete the message permanently.

Screenshot of the fake Webmail website promoted via this email:

Spam Quarantine Inbox email scam phishing website

Another example of email quarantine-themed spam promoting a phishing site:

Email Spam Quarantine-themed scam (2022-04-26)

Text presented within:

Subject: ********* Ticket #81620614: You have 1 or more errors in Your ********* Account: ref:_00Gf218t5m._5004U1nxS32:ref


My Account
 ********* Quarantine Error
Hi info,

Spam quarantine error report occured on *********.

You have  (10) Important Messages  on the Quarantine server.
This is due to a ********* server error. Fix error below to receiving pending emails.
Fix All Pending Issues Here
IMPORTANT: Failure to carry out above excercise might lead to account lock, unauthorized password reset until necessary action is taken.
Email(s) Accounts Under Quarantine
Name     Account Owner     Active
*********     info     Yes
Please note that you can only download or read the message with the email *********  this message was sent to
No third-party access.

WHY *********

MY ACCOUNT

HOW TO FIX
About Us   |   Support   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions  |  Account Login
Copyright © 2022 *********

This informational email was sent to *********

Another example of spam quarantine-themed email promoting a phishing site:

Spam Quarantine Notification-themed email promoting a phishing site

Text presented within:

Subject: Mail Quarantine Notification for -

 

Spam Quarantine Notification

The message(s) below have been blocked by your administrator as suspected spam.

There are 2 new messages in your Email Quarantine since you received your last Spam Quarantine Notification. If the messages below are spam, you do not need to take any action. Messages will be automatically removed from the quarantine after 180 day(s).

To see all quarantined messages view  your email quarantine.


Quarantined Email
From     Subject     Date
Release     supplier.reg     [SPAM] Online Supplier registration despatch pending with Su...     19 Dec 2022
Release     supplier.reg     [SPAM] Online Supplier registration despatch pending with Su...     26 Oct 2022
View All Quarantined Messages(39)

Note: This message has been sent by a notification only system. Please do not reply

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?

You have received this email because scammers have your email in their database (which probably was accumulated after a data breach). Either way, phishing emails, and similar email scams usually are not personal. Scammers send the same email to all addresses in their database.

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

If you have provided your password on the fake Webmail (or other) website, change your passwords immediately and try contacting your email service provider.

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

Computers get infected after malicious files are executed. However, not all malicious files infect computers right after they are opened. For example, malicious MS Office documents cannot cause damage until macros commands are enabled. Although, this does not apply to documents opened with MS Office versions released before 2010.

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

No, opening an email by itself is completely harmless (it cannot directly infect a computer).

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware. When operating systems are infected with high-end malware, they must be scanned using a full scan option. High-end malware can be hidden deep in the operating system, so running a quick scan will not detect it.

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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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