How to spot fake emails like "United Nations Reimbursement Program"
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What kind of email is "United Nations Reimbursement Program"?
After examining this email, our team concluded that it is a fraudulent email that masquerades as a letter from the assistant secretary general of the United Nations. Scammers behind it attempt to lure recipients into providing sensitive information or transferring money. Thus, recipients should ignore this letter.
More about the "United Nations Reimbursement Program" scam email
This email informs recipients that their email was randomly selected for the "2023 Relief Compensation of 1.5M Package for First Quarter United Nations Reimbursement program". The email offers to support individuals, businesses, and corporate bodies.
Recipients are instructed to contact Mr. Gilbert Jones for more information, and his contact details are provided in the email. The email is not legitimate, and the provided contact details are used to perpetrate a scam.
The purpose of this scam email is to deceive recipients into believing they have been selected for a financial compensation package from the United Nations. The email may ask recipients to provide personal or financial information or to make a payment to receive the supposed compensation.
In reality, there is no compensation package, and scammers are likely attempting to steal personal or financial information (e.g., credit card details and ID card information) or money.
|Name||United Nations Reimbursement Program Email Scam|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Recipients have been selected for a financial compensation package from the United Nations|
|Disguise||Letter from the assistant secretary general of the United Nations|
|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.
Similar scam emails in general
Fraudulent emails like the one described in our article often share common features. They typically use attention-grabbing subject lines and often begin with congratulations or similar phrases to lure recipients into reading the email.
The contents of these emails usually offer some financial reward or opportunity but require recipients to provide personal information or pay a fee to receive it. These emails may also include contact information for a supposed representative of the organization involved in the scam.
Examples of similar emails are "Investment Manager Email Scam", "CREDIT FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK Email Scam", and "Anti-Fraud International Monitoring Group Compensation Email Scam". It is important to know that emails can be used to trick recipients into infecting their computers.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
Malicious emails often contain links or attachments that pose a significant risk to users by delivering malware to their computers. Users may unknowingly infect their systems by taking actions such as enabling macros in malicious documents, running executable files, or opening malicious links.
How to avoid installation of malware?
Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited or irrelevant emails from unknown or suspicious addresses, as they may contain infected files or links to pages hosting malware. It is advisable to download applications and files only from official sources and avoid using third-party downloaders, P2P networks, or other unreliable sources.
Refrain from clicking on ads on dubious websites. Keep the operating system and installed programs up to date and use reputable 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 "United Nations Reimbursement Program" email letter:
United Nations General for Economic Development.
Your email was randomly selected for the 2023 Relief ?Compensation of 1.5M Package for First Quarter
United Nations Reimbursement program 2023. This is to support individuals; businesses and corporate
Please reach Mr. Gilbert Jones for more information.
Contact Name: Mr. Gilbert Jones
St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace
Address: 78 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG, UK
Phone: +44 752 063 5117
Assistant Secretary General
Economic Human Development
United Nations, London UK
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- What is United Nations Reimbursement Program scam?
- 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?
Scammers send identical messages to a large number of recipients, hoping that at least one of them will fall for it. These spam emails are never tailored to a specific individual.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?
If you have shared any account login details, it is recommended to change all passwords as soon as possible. In the event that you have disclosed other sensitive information, such as credit card information or identification details, we advise you to promptly contact the relevant authorities.
I have downloaded and opened a malicious file attached an email, is my computer infected?
In case the file was executable, the chances are high that your system got infected. However, if the file was a document such as .pdf or .doc, there is a possibility that your computer did not get infected, as just opening the document does not always lead to the infiltration of malware into the system.
I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?
Simply opening an email does not pose any threat to your system. However, if you click on links or open attachments within the email, it can lead to malware infections.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?
Combo Cleaner can identify and remove the majority of known malware infections. However, it is important to perform a full system scan since sophisticated malware often conceals itself deep within the system.
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