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How to spot emails like "Incoming Failed Messages" scam email

Also Known As: Incoming Failed Messages phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Incoming Failed Messages"?

After investigating this email, we found that it is a fake letter from an email service provider. It is created by scammers who aim to trick recipients into providing sensitive information on a phishing website. This email must be ignored.

Incoming Failed Messages scam email

More about the "Incoming Failed Messages" scam email

Scammers behind this email attempt to trick recipients into believing that 9 messages cannot be delivered due to a validation error. Their letter contains a fake list of blocked messages (quarantined mail). The purpose of this phishing email is to lure recipients into clicking the "RELEASE ALL (9)" button and entering the requested details on the opened page.

The website that gets opened after clicking the "RELEASE ALL (9)" button asks to enter email account login credentials (email address and password) to log into the email account. The design of that page depends on the recipient's email address. For instance, if the recipient uses Yahoo Mail as the email service provider, the opened phishing page mimics the Yahoo page.

Scammers use this phishing website to steal email account login credentials. Typically, stolen email accounts are checked for sensitive information and (or) sold to third parties, used to send spam, or deliver malware. Also, scammers try to use stolen login credentials to access other accounts.

Threat Summary:
Name Incoming Failed Messages Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Nine messages cannot be delivered due to a validation error
Disguise Letter from an 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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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Similar scam emails in general

Phishing emails are used to extract sensitive information. Scammers attempt to obtain credit card details, social security numbers, login credentials, and other details that could be used to steal identities, money, online accounts, etc.

Usually, phishing letters are disguised as official/important/urgent letters from banks, email service providers, various companies, and other entities. Examples of phishing emails are "Email Security Update Scam", "Your Wages Monthly Activity Statement Email Scam", and "Authenticate Account Email Scam".

It is important to know that cybercriminals can also use email to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals who use email to deliver malware include malicious links or attachments in their emails. Their goal is to trick recipients into opening those links or files. Typically, threat actors attempt to trick recipients into opening pages or files like MS Office, PDF documents, executables, ISO files, archives, or JavaScript files used to distribute malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Be careful about opening links or files in emails that are not irrelevant and sent from unknown addresses. Always investigate emails before opening their contents. Download programs (and files) from official websites (or stores). Do not trust other sources such as P2P networks, unofficial pages, third-party downloaders, etc.

Keep the operating system and installed programs updated. Activate and update them using tools/features provided by their official developers.

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 "Incoming Failed Messages" scam email:

Subject: E-Mail Notification: 9 Failed Incoming Messages on ******** server


9 Incoming Failed Messages

The following messages have been blocked by your administrator due to validation error.

You have 9 new messages in your email  quarantine.
Date:   11/7/2022 8:56:33 from (11/7/2022 8:56.
User:  ********
 
Click on Release All, to move these message(s) to your inbox folder:
 
                                                      Quarantined email
Status Recipient: Subject: Date:
Release ******** RE: Purchase Order #9910 07/11/2022
Release ******** FW: Proforma Invoice Urgently Needed 07/11/2022
Release ******** Re: SOA/ Payment Slip: 1002789 07/11/2022
Release ******** FW: SALES ORDER SO: 8920473 07/11/2022
 
 
RELEASE ALL (9)
 
 
Note: This message was sent by the system for notification  only. Please do not reply

If this message lands in your spam folder, please move it to your inbox folder for proper integration.

(c) Poweredby:  ******** Support. 2022

Screenshot of the fake Microsoft Bing page with an incorrect URL:

incoming failed messages email scam phishing page

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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?

Most probably, you are not the only one who received this letter. Typically, scammers send the same email to all addresses they have. In other words, scam emails are not personal (in most cases).

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

If you opened a phishing page presented in this email (clicked the "RELEASE ALL (9)" button) and entered your password, change all passwords as soon as possible. Usually, scammers try to access different accounts using the same password.

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

It depends on the file type. For instance, executables infect computers after they are opened/executed. Microsoft Office documents (opened with MS Office 2010 and later versions) infect computers after macros commands are enabled. Archives (like ZIP, RAR, and others) are harmless until malicious contents are opened.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Your computer is not infected. It is safe to open emails even when they contain malicious links or files.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware. When computers are infected with high-end malware, they must be scanned using a full system scan. It is common for malware of this kind to be hiding deep.

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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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