How to spot fake emails like "New Project Proposal" email scam

Also Known As: New Project Proposal phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is "New Project Proposal"?

After reviewing this letter, we concluded that it is a scam email (a phishing letter) designed to lure recipients into providing sensitive information. It contains an attachment that opens a phishing website. This letter is disguised as an email regarding a new project proposal from a travel company.

New Project Proposal email spam campaign

More about the "New Project Proposal" scam email

This letter is a fake request from Ahmad Ali AL Aboud, supposedly an Operations Executive from Kanoo, who recently visited the recipient's website and is now seeking assistance in reviewing a new project proposal from the Middle East UAE. It urges the recipient to review the attached document and assess the level of participation.

The letter also notes that the attached project document is secure and can only be accessed with a password from the recipient's email. The file attached to this email is an HTML file named "Project UAE PDF.html" (its name may vary). This file requires a username and password to be entered before downloading can commence.

Scammers can use obtained usernames and passwords to access the victim's accounts, steal sensitive information, and perform various fraudulent activities. With access to the victim's accounts, scammers can make unauthorized transactions, purchase goods or services, steal personal or financial information, and use it for identity theft, phishing attacks, or other criminal activities.

They can also sell the stolen usernames and passwords on the dark web to other cybercriminals who may use them for similar malicious purposes. It is important to protect your usernames and passwords and avoid falling prey to phishing scams or other fraudulent activities that could put your personal information at risk.

Threat Summary:
Name New Project Proposal Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Email has a proposal attached to it
Attachment Project UAE PDF.html (its name may vary)
Detection Names (Attachment) Avast (HTML:Phishing-CIF [Phish]), AVG (HTML:Phishing-CIF [Phish]), ESET-NOD32 (HTML/Phishing.Gen), Fortinet (JS/Phishing.69C4!tr), Rising (Trojan.Phishing/HTML!8.11C79 (TOPIS:E0:aaydq1ZWMxH)), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Disguise Letter from a travel company
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

Typically, phishing emails try to create a sense of urgency or fear in recipients, such as threatening to close their accounts or warning of some impending negative consequence if action is not taken immediately. Also, they may use a fake or suspicious sender email address or impersonate a legitimate organization or person to trick recipients into trusting them.

Usually, emails of this type ask recipients to provide personal information, such as login credentials, credit card details, or social security numbers. Examples of phishing emails are "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK Email Scam", "Webmail Password Expired Email Scam", and "Trunk Box Delivery Email Scam".

It is important to note that threat actors can use email as a channel to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

To achieve their goals (to infect computers), threat actors require recipients to voluntarily download and activate malware by opening malicious attachments or clicking on links within email messages. It is important to note that not all malicious files infect computers immediately after being opened.

Cybercriminals employ different file types to distribute malware, including malicious MS Office or PDF documents, executables, JavaScript files, archives, ISO files, etc.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is recommended that you avoid opening any links or files in emails from unknown sources, particularly if they appear irrelevant, as these types of emails may contain malware. To ensure your safety, download software from trusted sources such as official pages and verified stores, and avoid clicking on ads that appear on questionable websites.

Furthermore, it is important to keep your operating system and installed software up to date and never use third-party tools to update or activate any software. Utilizing reputable antivirus software and conducting regular scans for threats on your computer is also advisable.

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 "New Project Proposal" email letter:

Subject: Project UAE#1003 details

Project Request Asst #2555.

Dear ********

We visted tour website (********), and am wondering if you can go through this new project proposal from Middle East UAE
to kindly asst us in the following details
We urge your good company to go throuhg the document and accertain the level of participation which your copany can pull through
all the details are in the attached document .

Project attached document is meant for only and is secured kindly use your password from your email to access.

Best Regards

Ahmad Ali AL Aboud


Mobile: 0506968637

ahmad.alaboud@kanoo.com  |  kanoo.com

Screenshot of the form in the attached file:

New project proposal email scam HTML attachment (Project UAE PDF.html)

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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?

Phishing emails are typically not personalized to an individual recipient but rather are sent in bulk to a large number of recipients in the hope that some will fall for the scam.

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

If you have shared any login information (e.g., username and password), it is recommended that you modify all of your passwords without delay.

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

If the file happens to be an executable, then the chances of infection are very high. However, in case it is a document (for example, .pdf or .doc), it is possible that you were able to avoid getting infected since merely opening the document does not always lead to malware infiltrating the system.

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

Opening an email by itself is typically not harmful, and the potential for infection arises when clicking links within the email or opening attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner has the ability to identify and eradicate nearly all known malware infections. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that advanced malware often conceals itself deep within the system. Therefore, performing a full system scan is necessary.

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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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