Avoid getting scammed by fake "Payment Confirmation" emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What kind of email is "Payment Confirmation"?
After investigating the "Payment Confirmation" email, we determined that it is spam. Allegedly containing documentation relating to the confirmation of a payment, this fake letter actually has a phishing file attached to it. This file targets account log-in credentials (usernames/passwords).
"Payment Confirmation" email scam overview
The email with the subject "Important Information-EFT" (may vary) thanks the recipient for their business. It states that the attachment contains payment confirmation documents. As mentioned in the introduction, this email is fake, and it is in no way associated with any legitimate entities.
When we inspected the attached HTML file "Scanned-Confirmation-May.html" (filename may vary), we learned that it is a phishing file. It uses Microsoft's name and logo to create an impression of legitimacy. The file urges the user to sign into their account.
Phishing files/sites record information entered into them and send it to their designers. Cyber criminals can variously misuse hijacked accounts.
To expand upon this, criminals can steal the identities of social account owners (e.g., emails, social networking, social media, messengers, etc.) and ask their contacts/friends/followers for loans or donations, promote scams, and distribute malware by sharing malicious files/links.
Furthermore, finance-related accounts (e.g., online banking, money transferring, e-commerce, cryptocurrency wallets, etc.) can be used to make fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.
In summary, victims of emails like "Payment Confirmation" can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
If you have already disclosed your log-in credentials – we advise you to immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and contact their official support.
|Name||"Payment Confirmation" phishing email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Email contains payment confirmation attached to it.|
|Attachment(s)||Scanned-Confirmation-May.html (filename may vary)|
|Detection Names||Combo Cleaner (Generic.HTML.Obfio.A.D74DAC19), ESET-NOD32 (HTML/Phishing.Agent.EAF), MAX (Malware (ai Score=80)), VIPRE (Generic.HTML.Obfio.A.D74DAC19), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|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 campaign examples
"It Is Time For You To Reset The Password", "Mailbox Failed To Receive New Messages", "Adobe - Request For Quotation", and "Document Received" are merely some examples of phishing emails we have examined recently.
Various scams are facilitated via spam mail, ranging from log-in credential phishing to sextortion. What is more, these letters/messages are also used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware.
Due to how prevalent and potentially well-made this mail can be, we strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
When such a file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands, while virulent OneNote files need users to click on embedded files/links.
How to avoid installation of malware?
It is crucial to be careful with incoming emails and other messages. We advise against opening attachments or links found in suspicious/irrelevant mail, as they can be infectious. We recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.
It must be mentioned that malware is not spread only via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise caution while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.
Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy channels. It is just as important to activate and update programs by using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters can contain malware.
We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is paramount to device/user safety. This 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 "Payment Confirmation" spam email letter:
Subject: Important Information-EFT
Find attached May payment confirmation , Thanks for your business.
Screenshot of the phishing file attached to this spam email ("Scanned-Confirmation-May.html"):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Payment Confirmation" 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. They are sent in mass-scale operations – hence, thousands of users receive identical messages.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've disclosed other private data (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact relevant authorities.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, merely opening/reading an email will not initiate any malware download/installation processes. Devices are infected when malicious attachments/links are opened.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether an infection occurs depends on the file's purpose (phishing vs. malware download/installation), and it may be influenced by its format. Executables (.exe, .run, etc.) infect systems almost without fail when they are opened. On the other hand, document formats (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.) might require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) to initiate system infection chains.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate all manner of threats. It is capable of removing practically all known malware infections. Note that since high-end malicious programs typically hide deep within systems – running a complete system scan is essential.
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