How to spot scams like "Scam Activities In African Nations" phishing scam

Also Known As: Scam Activities In African Nations phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Scam Activities In African Nations"?

After analyzing this email, we have concluded that it is a phishing attempt disguised as a message regarding scam activities. The individuals (scammers) behind this scam are attempting to obtain personal information from the recipients. For this reason, we highly advise disregarding this letter.

Scam Activities In African Nations email spam campaign

More about the "Scam Activities In African Nations" scam email

This phishing email is designed to deceive recipients into providing personal information. The email appears to come from the United Nations Office of International Oversight Services and claims to be investigating fraudulent activities in Nigeria.

The email requests personal information, including full name, address, contact phone number, occupation, marital status/age, and ID or passport details. The email further claims that recipients are entitled to a compensation payment of $35 million, but some Nigerian and British government officials are attempting to divert the payment.

The email urges recipients to respond urgently to confirm their funds within the next 72 hours. Scammers can use the requested personal information for various fraudulent activities, such as identity theft, financial fraud, and social engineering attacks.

Additionally, scammers can use the information to craft more sophisticated and convincing phishing emails or other social engineering attacks, putting victims at risk of further identity theft or financial loss.

Therefore, it is crucial not to provide personal information to unknown individuals or entities via email or other forms of communication, particularly when the request seems suspicious or unsolicited.

Threat Summary:
Name Scam Activities In African Nations Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients are entitled to a compensation payment of $35 million
Disguise Letter from the United Nations Office of International Oversight Services
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

Phishing emails typically have several common characteristics that make them recognizable. They often use urgent or alarming language to create a sense of urgency in recipients. Also, these letters often mimic legitimate organizations or companies. Usually, phishing emails request personal or sensitive information, such as login credentials, passwords, credit card information, etc.

Examples of phishing emails are "DHL - A Parcel Was Sent To You Email Scam", "Messages Not Delivered Due To Server Interruptions Email Scam", and "Product Availability Confirmation Email Scam". It is important to mention that emails can be used to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malware-laden emails use various tactics to deceive recipients into clicking on harmful links or downloading malicious attachments. The file formats often used to distribute malware include Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive files like ZIP and RAR, executable files, and JavaScript files.

Computer infections occur when users download and execute malware themselves. However, it is worth noting that not all files can infect a computer instantly. For instance, malicious Microsoft Office documents require macros to be enabled before they can cause harm.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Be careful when receiving unsolicited or irrelevant emails from unfamiliar or questionable sources, as they might contain malicious links or infected files. Download applications and files from official sources and avoid third-party downloaders, P2P networks, and other unreliable sources.

Avoid clicking on ads displayed on untrustworthy websites. Keep the operating system and installed programs up to date and use reliable antivirus software. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Scam Activities In African Nations" email letter:

Internal Audit, Monitoring, Consulting And Investigations Division,
From: Mr Fredrick Benson


This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria yesterday from London, after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, Antarctica, South America and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these African nations.

I have met with President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account. Right now, as directed by our secretary general Mr. Antуnio Guterres, We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to Ensure That Your Approved Fund Legal Papers Is Secured and authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect the payment of your compensation Approved Fund Valid $35 Million direct to you.

Approved by both the British government and the UN into your account without any delay. All you need to do is to furnish us your Identification (ID) and your direct cell phone to enable us cross check your information we have in our file here with us at the same time advice you on what to do to receive your fund. Sincerely, you are a lucky person. This is because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr. Richard Graves from USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.

Please reconfirm the information below for more full verification of your transfer:

1. Your full name:--------------
2. Your home address:----------
3. Your contact phone number:-----------
4. Your Occupation: ----------
5. Your marital status/age:----
6. Your valid id card/international passport:--------
7. Home equity, (Yes) or (no)?
8. Country...........

I have a very limited time to stay here in Nigeria therefore; I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours.

Sincerely yours.
From: Mr Fredrick Benson
United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight

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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?

Emails of this kind are sent to a large number of people indiscriminately in the hope that some of the recipients will fall for the scam. It is also possible that your email address was obtained as a result of a data breach of a company or organization you have dealt with

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

If you have provided any financial information, contact your bank or credit card company immediately and let them know what happened. Also, report the phishing email to the appropriate authorities

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

Your computer may have been infected with malware if you have downloaded and opened a malicious file attached to an email. It depends on the type of the opened file (e.g., malicious executables can instantly infect computers, while most other files cannot).

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

If you only read the email and did not download or open any attachments or click on any links, your computer is not infected.

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

Combo Cleaner can identify and remove nearly all known malware infections. However, it is important to note that sophisticated malware often conceals itself deep within the system. As a result, performing a complete system scan is crucial.

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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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