How to spot scams like "Mega Millions International Lottery"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What kind of scam is "Mega Millions International Lottery"?
After examining this email, our team determined that it is a scam email written by scammers who try to trick recipients into believing they have won a lottery but have not claimed their prize. They aim to lure recipients into providing personal information and (or) transferring money. This email should be ignored.
More about the "Mega Millions International Lottery" scam email
This email claims that the recipient's email address appears to be among the lucky winners who have not filed a claim for a prize. It says that the recipient's address won during the Mega Millions International Lottery, Megamillions, Monthly Play, Thunder ball, and Hot picks (an Internet giveaway program). The prize the recipient supposedly can claim is one million US dollars.
Scammers behind this letter pretend to be Elizabeth Lyons, a Mega Millions International Lottery claims agent. Once contacted, they may ask to provide personal information (e.g., credit card details, ID card information, address, etc.) or pay "administration" or other fees.
People who fall for such scams never receive any prizes. Thus, these scam emails should be reported as spam and deleted.
|Name||Mega Millions International Lottery Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||You have win one million dollars but have not claimed the prize|
|Disguise||Letter from Mega Millions International Lottery claims agent|
|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.
More similar scams
Examples of similar scam emails are "Qatar World Cup 2022 Pay-Out", "Google - Qatar World Cup Lottery", and "Scam Victim Compensation Funds". As a rule, scammers behind emails of this kind aim to extract money and (or) sensitive information. Typically, they pretend to be real people, legitimate companies, or other entities.
It is important to mention that cybercriminals also use email to trick recipients into infecting their computers.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Not all files infect computers immediately after they are opened. For instance, malicious MS Office documents infect computers after enabling macros commands.
How to avoid installation of malware?
Carefully examine emails containing files or links, especially when senders are unknown, and letters are irrelevant. Download programs from official web pages and verified stores. Do not trust advertisements and links on questionable websites (or notifications from pages of this kind).
Keep the operating system and installed software updated. Run antivirus scans regularly. Use reputed security 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 "Mega Millions International Lottery" email letter:
Subject: CONGRATS YOUR EMAIL ID HAS WON
Dear Email User
We noticed that some prize remain unclaimed and your email ID appeared to be among the lucky winners who have not filed for the claim of their award prize.
Your email ID won during the Mega Millions International Lottery, Megamillions, Monthly Play, Thunder ball, Hot picks which is an internet giveaway program whereby email addresses extracted from the internet, and the winners selected from a ballot draw.
Note, that tickets are not sold anywhere for this program; hence, your e-mail address subsequently won you in the 3rd category, i.e. match five plus bonus.
You have been approved for over two months to claim a total sum of One Million United States Dollars, credited to file GOLDEN/9GM/327752.
Mega Millions International Lottery
International claims agent.
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 Mega Millions International Lottery lottery scam?
- 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?
Scammers sent the same letter to all recipients. This email is not personal.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?
If you have provided personal information like credit card details, ID card information, social security numbers, etc., contact the corresponding authorities as soon as possible.
I have downloaded and opened a malicious file attached to an email, is my computer infected?
If you have opened an executable file, your computer is probably infected. In other cases, you may have avoided having your computer infected (e.g., if you have opened a malicious MS Office document but have not enabled macros commands).
I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in such email, can I get my money back?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to retrieve transferred crypto funds. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible.
I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?
It is safe to open emails without opening links or attachments (even when those files or links are malicious).
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan the operating system and remove malware (it can detect almost all known malware). Since high-end malware usually hides deep in the system, a full system scan is required to eliminate it.
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