How to spot fraudulent emails like "You Have New 5 Held Messages"

Also Known As: You Have New 5 Held Messages phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "You Have New 5 Held Messages"?

After examining this email, we have concluded that it was created by scammers pretending to be an email service provider for fraudulent purposes. These scammers aim to trick the recipients into sharing sensitive information on a fake login page (a phishing site). As a result, we recommend that the recipients ignore this email.

You Have New 5 Held Messages email scam

More about the "You Have New 5 Held Messages" scam email

The email falsely claims that the recipient has five held messages and provides options to release, permit, block, or manage them individually. The purpose of the email is to trick the recipient into clicking on a link/button designed to open a phishing site where the recipient will be asked to enter login credentials.

Many scammers aim to steal login credentials so they can gain access to financial accounts, such as online banking or cryptocurrency accounts, and steal money from the victim. Also, by stealing login credentials, scammers can gain access to personal information about the victim, such as their name, address, date of birth, and social security number.

This information can be used to commit identity theft, which can include opening new accounts or applying for credit in the victim's name. Scammers may also use stolen login credentials to carry out fraudulent activities, such as sending spam emails or posting fraudulent content on social media.

Overall, stealing login credentials provides scammers with an entry point into a victim's accounts or systems, which they can then use for their own nefarious purposes.

Threat Summary:
Name You Have New 5 Held Messages Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The recipient has five messages that are being held
Disguise Letter from an email service provider
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 often appear to come from a legitimate source, such as a bank, an email service provider, or a well-known brand and may use logos or branding to appear more convincing. They typically create a sense of urgency or fear to encourage the recipient to act immediately (e.g., to click on a link or enter personal information).

Also, emails of this kind can be used to trick the recipient into downloading malicious content. Examples of phishing emails are "Ledger Wallet Has Been Suspended Due To Suspicious Activity", "New/Old Staff Payroll", and "South African Post Office".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malware can be introduced to users' computers via emails with malicious attachments and links. These attachments can come in different file formats, such as PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, ZIP files, JavaScript files, ISO files, executables, and more. These files may contain malware (e.g., ransomware) which gets triggered when the attachment is opened (malicious code is executed).

Likewise, links present in emails can also plant malware on computers by redirecting users to infected websites that automatically download malware onto their devices.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when dealing with email attachments or links received from unfamiliar or questionable email addresses, particularly when emails are unexpected or irrelevant. Ensure your operating system, software, and plugins are up-to-date with the most recent security updates and patches. Utilize antivirus software and ensure that it remains updated.

Refrain from downloading applications from untrustworthy sources, such as Peer-to-Peer networks, suspicious webpages, or third-party downloaders. Download software from official pages and stores. Do not trust advertisements, pop-ups, or links on dubious websites.

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 "You Have New 5 Held Messages" email letter:

Subject: Action Required: You have [5] held messages

You have new 5 held messages.   

You can release all of your held messages, permit or block

future emails the senders, or manage messages individually.

Review All Release All Block All

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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?

Scammers distribute identical letters to thousands of individuals, expecting at least one person to fall for the scam. These unsolicited emails are never personalized.

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

In case you have shared any account credentials, it is recommended to change all passwords promptly. If you have shared other personal information, such as credit card details, ID card information, or the like, it is crucial to reach out to the relevant authorities as soon as possible.

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

If the file was an executable, then it is highly likely that the system got infected. However, in the case of a document file (PDF, DOC, or similar), the infection might have been avoided, as merely opening the document is sometimes insufficient for malware to infiltrate the system.

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

Merely opening an email does not pose any risk to the system. The system can only get infected if the user clicks links within the email or opens attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner is proficient in identifying and removing nearly all recognized malware infections. However, it is essential to note that advanced malware often conceals itself deeply within the system. Therefore, it is crucial to perform a comprehensive 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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