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How to spot scam emails like "USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending"

Also Known As: USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is "USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending"?

While analyzing this email, we found that it is a fake letter from USPS created by scammers. Scammers behind it aim to trick recipients into opening a fake login page and entering credentials on it. Emails of this type are called phishing emails.

USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending scam email

More about the "USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending" scam email

This scam email is disguised as a reminder from USPS about a pending shipment. It encourages recipients to confirm shipment information by clicking on the "View your Package" button. Also, this letter claims that the provided link will expire three days after it is sent.

During our analysis, the website promoted via this phishing email was down. However, it is almost certain that the website that is supposed to be opened after clicking the "View your Package" button is a phishing website used to steal login information (email addresses and passwords).

Typically, scammers use stolen credentials to hijack online accounts or sell them to third parties. Scammers often try to access and steal multiple accounts since some users use the same password in multiple accounts.

Depending on the stolen accounts, scammers can use them to make fraudulent purchases and transactions, obtain more sensitive information, send spam and malware, steal identities, and more. Thus, it is strongly recommended to examine websites received via suspicious emails before entering any information on them.

Threat Summary:
Name USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Shipment is still pending
Disguise Letter from USPS
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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Similar scam emails in general

As a rule, phishing emails are disguised as official/urgent/important letters from legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities (e.g., banks, couriers, email service providers). They are used to trick recipients into providing sensitive information like ID card information, credit card details, login credentials, etc.

Examples of phishing emails are "Mailbox Cache Is Full", "DHL - Your Parcel Delivery Arrived Today", and "Contract Document". Threat actors also use email to trick recipients into infecting computers.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users infect computers via emails after opening malicious attachments or links. Cybercriminals behind such emails succeed when recipients execute malware (or open malicious or compromised pages) by themselves. Usually, they use malicious MS Office, PDF documents, executables, ISO files, archives, JavaScript files, and other files to distribute malware.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open links or files in emails without examining them. Especially when received emails do not concern you and are sent from unknown addresses. Download software from official pages only. Do not use P2P networks, third-party downloaders, shady pages, and similar sources to download files or programs.

Keep the operating system and installed programs updated. Do not trust advertisements and links on shady websites. Scan the operating system for threats regularly. Use reputed antivirus software. 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 "USPS - Shipment Is Still Pending" email letter:

Attention Needed

UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

Dear Customer As a reminder, USPS informs you that your shipment is still pending.
Confirm the information of your shipment by clicking on the following button:
View your Package
This link will expire 3 days from the date sent.
Thanks,
USPS Post team

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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?

The same scam email was sent to all recipients (even to people who live outside the US). Typically, phishing emails like this one are non-targeted.

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

If you opened a phishing page and entered your password on it, change all passwords as soon as possible.

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

Executables usually infect computers right after they are opened/executed. Other files cannot inject malware until users perform additional steps (e.g., enable macros commands in malicious MS Office documents). Thus, whether your computer is infected depends on the type of the file that was opened.

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

It is safe to open any emails. Emails cannot infect computers. Computers get infected via links or attachments.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner will remove malware from the operating system. This application can detect almost all known malware. Usually, high-end malware hides deep in the system. Thus, users who have their computers infected with malware of this kind must run a full system scan.

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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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