How to spot phishing scams like "Contract For Invoice"

Also Known As: Contract For Invoice phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is "Contract For Invoice"?

During our scrutiny of this email, our team identified it as a fraudulent notification, falsely claiming the sharing of a contract document with the recipients. The primary objective of this email is to entice recipients into accessing a deceptive website and providing their login credentials. Such emails are referred to as phishing emails.

Contract For Invoice email spam campaign

More about the "Contract For Invoice" scam email

The email's subject line suggests recipients have received a new contract document through Microsoft Sharepoint. The sender, Susan Wang, claims to be the Import Director of Salcomp Manufacturing Corporation and provides contact information for an address in Taipei City.

The email's content contains a request to review a shared contract related to an invoice from the company's Beijing office and asks the recipient to sign and return it. Additionally, the email concludes with contact information, including a phone number and website link.

While these details may appear legitimate, it is important to note that phishing emails can include seemingly genuine contact information to deceive recipients. The "Get Your Files" button in the email opens a phishing website masquerading as a legitimate page.

The phishing website linked in this email imitates a sign-in page corresponding to the recipient's email address. To illustrate, if the recipient uses Gmail as their email service provider, the fraudulent page will mimic a Gmail sign-in page. The purpose of this phishing site is to steal email account login credentials.

Scammers can exploit pilfered email login credentials in various harmful ways. These actions include assuming your identity for fraudulent activities, like sending deceptive emails to your contacts, potentially tarnishing your reputation.

They might also engage in financial fraud by accessing sensitive financial data stored in your emails, leading to unauthorized transactions or credit applications. Email hijacking is another concern, as scammers can misuse your account to perpetrate scams on your contacts.

Scammers can also use stolen email credentials to attempt to access other accounts where you've used the same login information. This practice, known as credential stuffing, can lead to unauthorized access to various online services, potentially compromising your personal and financial data.

Additionally, if your email is linked to other accounts (e.g., social media, financial institutions), scammers can gain entry to those accounts, posing significant security and privacy risks.

Threat Summary:
Name Contract For Invoice Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A new contract document has been shared with you
Disguise Letter from Susan Wang, import director at Salcomp Manufacturing Corporation
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 are deceptive messages that attempt to trick recipients into taking harmful actions, such as clicking malicious links or revealing sensitive information. These emails often impersonate trusted organizations or individuals, using convincing language and design to appear legitimate.

Phishers typically employ social engineering tactics to exploit emotions like fear, curiosity, or urgency, prompting victims to act without thinking. Examples of phishing emails are "Sign In Credentials Is Set To Expire", "Nehmeh Purchase Order", and "Incoming Messages Were Not Delivered".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users may inadvertently expose their computers to potential risks when they engage with attachments or links found in deceptive emails. These fraudulent emails frequently carry dangerous attachments in various formats, including PDFs, Microsoft Office documents (such as Word or Excel), JavaScript files, executable files bearing .exe extensions, or compressed archive files like ZIP or RAR.

Upon opening such attachments or clicking on the provided links, users may unknowingly trigger the downloading and activation of malicious software, including ransomware or trojans. Cybercriminals often employ deceptive strategies within their emails to manipulate users into undertaking these perilous actions.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when dealing with emails from unfamiliar or dubious origins, particularly if they contain unexpected attachments or hyperlinks. Obtain software and files exclusively from reputable and official sources, such as official websites and authorized stores. Steer clear of potentially hazardous websites, unofficial app stores, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, and similar platforms.

Install a reliable antivirus or anti-malware application on your computer. Ensure that your operating system, software, and antivirus software are regularly updated. Be vigilant when interacting with advertisements, pop-ups, or links on dubious websites, and exercise caution to avoid potential security risks.

If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Contract For Invoice" email letter:

Subject: A new contract document has been shared with you on Microsoft Sharepoint.

Dear -,

Find shared contract for invoice from our office in Beijing, kindly sign and return.
If we(headquarters) are to make payment, please make a new invoice with our headquarters address.

Best Regards,

Susan Wang

Import Director

Salcomp Manufacturing Corporation, Salcomp Shenzhen. Plant

7th Floor, No. 201, Section 2, Tiding Avenue, Neihu District, Taipei City 11493

Phone: +886 2 2656-3858 ext 225

Fax: +886 2 2627-1265

Web: www.salcomp.com
Get Your Files

Screenshot of the phishing website:

Contract for invoice email scam phishing email

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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?

Fraudsters distribute identical messages to thousands of individuals, banking on the chance that someone will be deceived by their schemes. These spam emails are devoid of any personalization.

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

If you have inadvertently disclosed personal information, such as email account login credentials, take immediate action. Change your passwords, closely monitor your accounts for any unusual or suspicious activity, and report the potential security breach to your email (or other) service provider.

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

It depends on the type of the file. For instance, files bearing .exe extensions pose a heightened threat, whereas infections with file types like MS Office documents often happen when users activate macro commands.

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

Merely opening an email is generally safe and does not pose a direct threat. The risk arises when you interact with the email by clicking on embedded links or opening attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner will conduct a thorough scan of your computer and effectively eliminate malware. It has the capability to detect nearly all known malware. A comprehensive system scan is crucial to completely remove advanced malware, as these threats frequently conceal themselves deep within the system.

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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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