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Do not trust fake "People's Postcode Lottery" emails

Also Known As: "People's Postcode Lottery" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "People's Postcode Lottery"?

After inspecting this "People's Postcode Lottery" email, we determined that it is spam. This phishing scam targets personally identifiable information by claiming to be a notification regarding a win in the People's Postcode Lottery - a legitimate lottery in the United Kingdom. However, this letter is fake and not associated with the actual subscription lottery – hence, it cannot be trusted and must be reported as spam.

People's Postcode Lottery email spam campaign

"People's Postcode Lottery" email scam overview

The email with the subject "URGENT REPLY NEEDED!" is presented as a notification from the UK-based People's Postcode Lottery. It states that the recipient has won £650,000, and the winnings must be claimed within two weeks.

The recipient is instructed to provide the following information to proceed with the claims process – full name, age, sex, occupation, country of origin, home address, and a photograph of any valid identity document (e.g., passport, ID card, etc.).

As mentioned in the introduction, this email is fake and in no way associated with the actual People's Postcode Lottery. This spam mail aims to extract personally identifiable data and abuse it for profit. The disclosed data could be used to craft personalized scams or steal the victim's identity. It may also be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).

If you have already revealed this highly sensitive data to scammers – we strongly advise contacting the appropriate authorities without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "People's Postcode Lottery" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has won £650,000
Disguise People's Postcode Lottery
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 spam campaign examples

We have inspected thousands of spam emails; "Unknown Browser Login", "United Nations - Abandoned Shipment", "Crypto Payment Notification", and "DHL - Your Parcel Delivery Arrived Today" are just some examples of ones used for phishing.

This kind of scam mail can target a wide variety of information, ranging from specific account usernames/passwords to credit card numbers. In addition to facilitating various scams, spam letters are used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

Therefore, we highly recommend being careful with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can have malicious files attached to or linked inside them. These files can be archives (RAR, ZAP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and so on.

When a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain (i.e., malware download/installation) is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect systems by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend exercising caution with incoming mail. The attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant emails and messages – must not be opened, as they can be malicious. It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.

However, it must be mentioned that malware is not spread exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we advise downloading only from official and verified channels.

Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updates may contain malware. Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since fake and malicious content usually appears harmless.

We must emphasize the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. 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 "People's Postcode Lottery" spam email letter:

Subject: URGENT REPLY NEEDED!


Attention: Dear Winner,


Congratulations
Your Email Address has won £650 000.00 GBP in our People's Postcode
Lottery, held in the United Kingdom, on 5th of December 2022. And without any further delay you are hereby advised to send us the following information below to enable us commerce with the delivery of your winnings.


Full Name:
Home Address:
Phone Number:
Occupation:
Age:
Sex:
Country of Origin:
Any of your identification or passport photograph:
For claim, here are your details below;


Ticket Number: WL726TA.
Reference Number: 13251910137M.
Serial Number: 00726-TQ-014.
Lucky Number: CB214LH.
Date in which the Prize has been won.


Note:


Any unclaimed prize within 14 days of your winning will be
forfeited. Please send a lucky number and reference numbers to our regional manager for claims.


Ms Marlene Dillon
Email: mmsmarlenedillon@gmail.com
Phone: 447418348348
Admin Secretary.

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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?

Spam emails are not personal. Thousands of users receive identical letters.

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

If you have disclosed your ID card details, credit card numbers, or other highly sensitive information – immediately contact the appropriate authorities. And if you've provided account log-in credentials – change the passwords or all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay.

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

No, just reading/opening an email will not infect the system. Malware download/installation processes are triggered when malicious attachments or links found in spam mail are opened/clicked.

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

If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your system was infected. However, documents (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) may need additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) – to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate practically all known malware infections. It must be stressed that performing a full system scan is paramount – since sophisticated malicious software tends to hide deep within systems.

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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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