How to spot email scams like the fake Salvation Army email
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of scam is the "Salvation Army" email scam?
We have examined this email and concluded that it is used to steal credentials. It contains an attachment designed to open a page asking to provide email, phone or Skype, and password. This site is disguised as a letter from The Salvation Army, an evangelical protestant Christian church in Australia.
More about the Salvation Army email scam
Scammers behind this phishing email ask recipients to review the attached "invoice". The file attached to this email is named "payment _0833.html" (its name may vary). This HTML file opens a deceptive page (a fake Office 365 site) asking visitors to enter their email, phone, or Skype name and a password to access the shared file.
Typically, scammers behind emails like this one sell obtained information on the darknet, or they use it to steal online accounts. Depending on the type of hijacked accounts, they could be used to steal identities, deliver malware, make fraudulent purchases, transactions, and other purposes.
|Name||Salvation Army Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||File attached to the email is an invoice|
|Attachment||payment _0833.html (its name may vary)|
|Detection Names (Attachment)||ALYac (JS:Trojan.Cryxos.5957), Combo Cleaner (JS:Trojan.Cryxos.5957), Emsisoft (JS:Trojan.Cryxos.5957 (B)), GData (HTML.Trojan-Stealer.Phish.IL), Microsoft (Trojan:Script/Sabsik.FL.B!ml), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Disguise||Letter from the Salvation Army (an existing church)|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Similar emails in general
Scammers behind phishing emails pretend to be legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities. Their emails contain links or attachments. Most commonly targeted information is credit card details, login credentials, and (or) ID card numbers.
Examples of phishing emails are "Please Find Attached Receipt Email Scam", "DHL - YOUR GOODS ARE IN TRANSIT Email Scam", and "We Are Closing All Mailbox Users Email Scam". It is important to know that emails sent by cybercriminals can contain malicious links and attachments.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
How to avoid installation of malware?
Do not open links and attachments received from unknown email addresses. Especially when emails containing links/files do not concern you (are irrelevant). Download software from legitimate (official) pages and use direct download links. Avoid using other sources like P2P networks, shady pages, third-party downloaders, etc.
Update and activate (if necessary) the installed software and operating system using tools provided by the official developers. Use reputable antivirus software for computer protection. 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 "Salvation Army email scam" email letter:
Subject: Outstanding Invoices
Please find proof of payment for the attached invoices.
The Salvation Army
Access Point Coordinator
The Salvation Army Australia Territory
Address: 6/147 Harvester Road Sunshine, VIC 3020
Phone: (03) 93134300
Mobile: 0409 058 739
Microsoft Teams: (03) 8846 8161
Want to know more about our local activities?
Click here to find out!
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Wherever there is hardship or injustice, Salvos will live, love and
fight, alongside others, to transform Australia one life at a time
with the love of Jesus.
Through our commitment to reconciliation, The Salvation Army
acknowledges the First Nations peoples of Australia as the
traditional custodians of this land. We further acknowledge and
pay our respects to past and present Elders, giving thanks for their
wisdom that has sustained their people since the beginning of time,
and we pledge to support emerging and future generations.
Screenshot of the page opened via the attachment:
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:
- What is Salvation Army phishing email?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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?
Your email was likely leaked, and scammers used it in their phishing campaign. Emails of this kind are not personal.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?
If you have provided your account credentials (email address, Skype name, or phone number, and password), change all passwords immediately.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to this email, is my computer infected?
No, the file attached to this email is not supposed to infect a computer with malware. The purpose of this file is to open a page designed to steal personal information.
I have read the email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, opening an email cannot infect a computer. Computers get infected via malicious files (attachments) or links in emails.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware. High-end malware usually hides deep in the system. Therefore, computers infected with malware of this kind have to be scanned fully (using a full scan option).
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