Do not trust fake "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK"?
Our inspection of the "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" email revealed that it is spam. This phishing letter states that the recipient will receive over ten million US dollars from the World Bank. Personal information must be provided, and a processing fee must be paid – to facilitate this transfer.
It must be emphasized that this spam mail is in no way associated with the legitimate World Bank international financial institution or any other real entities.
The goal of this email is to trick recipients into disclosing sensitive information and sending the scammers money.
"CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" email scam overview
The spam email with the subject "NOTIFICATION OF CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK" (may vary) is presented as a letter from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
It states that the recipient will receive ten million five-hundred thousand USD ($10.500.000) from the Compensation Office of the World Bank. The bogus funds are supposedly an offset to the recipient's overdue "compensation/inheritance payment".
To initiate the transfer, the recipient is asked to provide the following information – full name, occupation, home address, mobile phone number, receiving bank name, bank address, name of the bank account holder, ABA routing transit number, account number, and SWIFT code.
Additionally, the fake email indicates that a "processing/ stamp duty fee" applies to the transfer. Hence, the recipient must pay 980 USD, and this payment cannot be deducted from the payout they are about to receive.
As previously mentioned, this letter is fake, and it is not associated with any real individuals or legitimate entities.
Scammers monetize the information obtained through spam campaigns by selling it to third-parties or otherwise abusing it for profit. Furthermore, finance-related data may be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases. This spam email also requests payment of a hoax fee.
Cyber criminals prefer to use difficult-to-trace methods for obtaining funds, as that minimizes the threat of persecution and ensures that victims would be unable to recover their funds.
For example, scammers may request the payment to be made using cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, or cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped. Alternatively, victims may be redirected to dubious payment gateways that operate as phishing sites and target provided information (e.g., online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.).
In summary, by trusting an email like "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" – users can experience severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and even identity theft.
If you have already disclosed your personally-identifiable or finance-related information – immediately contact the appropriate authorities. And if you suspect that your account credentials have been exposed – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay.
|Name||"CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipient will receive over 10 million USD from the Compensation Office of the World Bank.|
|Disguise||World Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of New York|
|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.
Phishing spam campaigns examples
"Payment Via ATM Visa Card Will Be Shipped", "Webmail Password Expired", "Trunk Box Delivery", "Password Expiry Notification", and "Junk Filter" are just some examples of phishing emails we have inspected recently.
Deceptive letters are used to promote a wide variety of scams and even to proliferate malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.). These emails employ various social engineering techniques to gain and subsequently abuse victims' trust. They are often disguised as messages from legitimate institutions, organizations, companies, service providers, authorities, and other entities.
Due to how widespread and well-made this mail can be – we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote files need users to click on embedded files/links to start downloading/installing malware.
How to avoid installation of malware?
We highly recommend being vigilant with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. The attachments or links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious and cause system infections.
It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro command execution.
However, malware is not distributed exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also recommend downloading only from official and verified channels. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters can contain malware.
We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated is paramount to device and user safety. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. 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 "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" spam email letter:
Subject: NOTIFICATION OF CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK
33 LIBERTY STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10045
NOTIFICATION OF CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK
REF:- PAYMENT CODE: ECB/066
Attention Valued Beneficiary,
This is to acknowledge the receipt of an instructional payment order in your favor valued at $10.500.000.00, Ten million five hundred thousand United states dollars from World Bank compensation Office under the supervision of Mr. Jim Yong Kim, the President/CEO, be informed that this bank has been mandated by the World Bank organization to offset your long over-due compensation/inheritance payment valued $10.500.000.00 with immediate effect.
To proceed with the release/transfer of your funds as instructed by World Bank, you are required to furnish us with your below listed particulars for IMMEDIATE evaluation and processing of payment/funds transfer in your favor.
(1). Your full name and residential address
(2). Direct cell/mobile phone number
(3). Receiving bank name
(4). Bank address
(5). Your Routing number
(6). Your swift code
(7). Account number
(8). Name of account holder
(9). Your Occupation
Also, do note that you are obligatory to take care of the applicable PROCESSING/STAMP DUTY FEE totaling $980.00 only and this fee cannot be deducted from your principal amount neither can it be withdrawn, because your fund is protected by a hard cover insurance policy which does not permit any deduction until it's transferred into your bank account.
Please do provide the above listed information accurately and the $980.00 applicable PROCESSING/STAMP DUTY FEE to enable us commence with the transfer of your funds in your account as instructed by the World Bank organization.
I wait to hear your swift response..
Yours in service,
Mr. Jerome Powell
PRESIDENT/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NEW YORK
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- What is "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" phishing email?
- 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?
Spam emails are not personal. Cyber criminals send these messages in mass-scale campaigns with the hopes that at least some recipients will fall for the scams.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact the corresponding authorities without delay.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked; hence, merely opening a spam email will not trigger any infection chains.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether your device was infected might depend on the open file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, documents (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.) may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking on embedded content, etc.) – to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate threats. It is capable of removing practically all known malware infections. Keep in mind that since sophisticated malicious programs tend to hide deep within systems – performing a complete system scan is essential.
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