How to spot untrustworthy emails like "AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE" scam email

Also Known As: AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE email virus
Damage level: Severe

What kind of email is "AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE"?

While investigating this email, we found that it is a scam email written by scammers who aim to lure unsuspecting recipients into opening the attached file. Scammers disguised this email as a letter from a company called AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE regarding a new purchase order. It is strongly recommended to ignore such emails and, more importantly, leave files in them unopened.


More about the "AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE" scam email

The email says that the attachment is a purchase order document that was discussed with the recipient's colleague. It requests the recipient to send the estimated time of arrival and invoice for prepayment. We scanned the attachment (a PDF document named "new order 22-00458.pdf") on VirusTotal. We found that multiple security vendors flagged this file as malicious.

The type of malware distributed via the file attached to this email is unknown. It could be ransomware, a cryptocurrency miner, a Trojan, an information stealer, or other malware. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files. Ransomware victims cannot access/use their files until they are decrypted with a tool that usually only the attackers have.

Cryptocurrency miner is software that cybercriminals employ to mine cryptocurrency using the victim's computer. Typically, cryptocurrency miners use CPU and (or) GPU to mine cryptocurrency. A computer infected with a cryptocurrency miner consumes more energy, meaning a victim receives higher electricity bills.

Information stealers (e.g., banking Trojans, keystroke loggers) are used to obtain sensitive information. Typically, cybercriminals use them to gather passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, ID card information, and other data.

Threat Summary:
Threat Type Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud, Malspam
Fake Claim File attached to this email is a purchase order
Attachment new order 22-00458.pdf (its name may vary)
Detection Names (Attachment) Avast (PDF:FilenameShenanigans-A [Trj]), AVG (PDF:FilenameShenanigans-A [Trj]), Fortinet (HTML/Groooboor.gen!tr), Lionic (Trojan.PDF.Generic.O!c), McAfee (Artemis!27BA48E2DD1F), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Disguise Letter from the company named AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, data loss, and other issues.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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Emails of this kind in general

Scammers behind emails of this kind pretend to be legitimate companies or other entities. They often use real names, logos, addresses, etc. Their goal is to trick recipients into providing sensitive information or downloading and executing malware.

Examples of emails containing malicious files or links are "I Paid For Products From Your Store Email Virus", "YouTube Copyright Infringement Warning Email Virus", and "Declined Debit Email Virus".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

In this case, malware is distributed via a malicious PDF file attached to an email. Computers become infected after opening malicious files or links. It is important to mention that certain files cannot infect computers until users perform certain actions.

For example, malicious MS Office documents can only infect computers if users enable macros commands. Archives like ZIP, RAR, or other files of this type are harmless until their contents are opened. More examples of files used to distribute malware are JavaScript files, executables, and ISO files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not trust irrelevant emails received from unknown addresses. Remember that such emails can contain malicious links or attachments. Also, use official pages and stores as sources for downloading files and programs. Do not use other sources (for example, shady websites, P2P networks, third-party downloaders, free file hosting pages, etc.).

Keep your computer and the installed software updated. Do not use third-party tools to update or activate any software. Scan your computer for viruses and other threats with antivirus software 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 "AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE" scam email:

Subject: New Purchase order 22-00458 //AMERICAN GLOBAL TRADE, LLC//

Attached is the purchase order 22-00458  for the new order as discussed with your colleague yesterday.

Let me know what the ETA is and also proforma invoice to release 30% pre-payment.

Awaiting for your response.

Karen Faase


P.O. BOX 71792

Madison Heights, Michigan 48071  USA

Screenshot of the attached PDF file:

american global trade email scam pdf attachment

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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?

It is possible that your email address has been leaked after a data breach, or it was entered on an untrustworthy website. Either way, this email is not personal. Threat actors probably sent it to all addresses that they have in their database.

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

If the PDF document attached to this email is embedded with a code that makes documents signable and (or editable in another way), it may have infected your computer. PDF documents infect computers when they contain malicious JavaScript codes.

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

No, it is safe to open emails even when they contain malicious links or attachments. Emails cannot infect computers.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner will detect and remove malware (it can detect almost all known malware). Since high-end malware usually hides deep in the system, it is highly advisable to scan the operating system using a full scan to detect malware of this kind.

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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.

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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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