Avoid getting scammed by fake "Central Bank Of Nigeria" emails

Also Known As: "Central Bank Of Nigeria" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Central Bank Of Nigeria"?

After reviewing the "Central Bank Of Nigeria" email, we determined that it is spam. The scam letter details fraudulent financial activities in Nigeria; it claims that during restructuring processes, it was decided that the recipient is eligible to receive their payment. By promising millions of dollars, this phishing scam aims to trick recipients into disclosing their banking information.

Central Bank Of Nigeria email spam campaign

"Central Bank Of Nigeria" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "INFORMATION CIRCULAR." (may vary) expounds upon the fraudulent activities and corrupt practices of Nigerian financial institutions and governmental agencies in relation to foreign payments. Due to the impediments caused by these activities to Nigeria's economic growth, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA/ECA) and the Nigerian government have made efforts to restructure these processes.

Thus, it was discovered that the recipient had completed the required legal and financial obligations to receive their payment. Hence, the Central Bank of Nigeria will transfer 6.4 million USD to the recipient's bank account. The email requests the recipient to provide their banking account data to facilitate the fund transfer.

As mentioned in the introduction, this email is fake, and it is in no way associated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, or any other legitimate entities.

This spam mail targets financial data, which the scammers could use to carry out unauthorized transactions or online purchases.

It is pertinent to mention that some emails of this ilk also request recipients to make payments (small in comparison to the promised payout) – thus victims could be deceived into transferring money directly to the cyber criminals or into entering their financial account log-in credentials into phishing websites.

If you have already disclosed your account credentials to scammers – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've provided other private data (e.g., credit card numbers, ID card details, passport scans/photos, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Central Bank Of Nigeria" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient is eligible to receive their $6.4 million payment.
Disguise Central Bank Of Nigeria
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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Spam campaigns in general

"Compensation For People Scammed by African Countries", "Stalled Funds - United Bank Of Africa", "Donation From Coca-Cola", and "Netherlands De Lotto" are a few examples of spam emails similar to "Central Bank Of Nigeria".

Spam mail is used to promote various scams; common themes include large payments/prizes/inheritances, expired/renewed subscriptions, account issues (e.g., security threats, pending deactivation, failed message delivery, etc.), blackmail attempts over nonexistent material, and so forth. Deceptive emails are also used to distribute trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, and other malware.

While infamous for their numerous errors, scam letters can be competently disguised as messages from existing companies, service providers, organizations, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails/messages can include malicious files as attachments or download links. These files can be documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

Upon opening such a file – the infection process is triggered. However, some formats may need additional actions to start downloading/installing malware. For example, Microsoft Office files require users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents need them to click on embedded files/links.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We strongly recommend exercising caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. Attachments or links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious. It is important to use post-2010 Microsoft Office versions since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

However, malware distribution is not limited to spam mail. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official and verified channels.

Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

Another recommendation is to be careful while browsing since fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.

We must stress that having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated is essential to device/user safety. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. 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 "Central Bank Of Nigeria" spam email letter:


Dear Fund Beneficiary,


We have noticed with deep concern the fraudulent and corrupt practices by some officials of the Nigerian financial institutions and government agencies formerly designated with the duty to process and perform the remittances of various foreign contract/inheritance payments. These nefarious activities have put Nigeria in bad light among the committee of nations, which have been very inimical to her economic growth and development. It is a fact that some beneficiaries while trying to realize their legitimate contract/inheritance payments have unsuspectingly fallen prey to schemes and grand designs of these bad elements in Nigeria who create artificial impediments in the processing of foreign contract/inheritance payments as devices to perpetrate fraud.
In need to restore and re-position the ailing Nigerian economy and status for improved direct foreign investments and economic growth, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN/ECA) was prevailed upon by the president of Nigeria to wade into the matter in partnership with the Nigerian government to grapple with the arduous task of restructuring for advancement the Nigerian economic and financial status, and to further effectiveness in foreign payment resolution.
In the course of verification of your payment file, it was discovered that you have satisfactorily completed all required legal and financial obligations in respect of your payment. In this vein, your fund has been ratified for immediate payment, and high power directives have been issued to newly restructured Central Bank of Nigeria to credit your bank account without further delay with the total sum of US$6,400,000.00 representing part payment of your outstanding fund, who under the present structure have taken over full responsibility on all outstanding foreign debts/payments.
You are hereby advised to contact and communicate your bank account information to the Managing Director, Payment System Directorate, Central Bank of Nigeria - CBN for crediting of US$6,400,000.00 into your bank account. While communicating the the Managing Director, Payments System Directorate - CBN, please quote: Ref No: UN-ECA/INHERITANCE-CONTRACT/#0170717 for his reference.
The contact information of the Managing Director, Payments System Directorate – CBN is:
Contact Person:                 DR. SILAS JAYAMMA (Managing Director, Wire Transfer Services – CBN)
Bank Address:                   Central Bank of Nigeria, Plot 33, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Way, Abuja, Nigeria
Office Telephone No:            +234 9 2900062
E-mail Address:                cbnpayment0001@gmail.com
Yours truly,
Ms. Ngone Diop
(Director, Subregional Office, West Africa)
UN Economic Commission for Africa
7, Alfred Rewane Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
Hotline: +234 7040700001

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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?

Spam emails are not personal. Scammers send this mail in massive campaigns – 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 account credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. In case the disclosed data was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the corresponding authorities.

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

Merely reading an email is harmless. System infection processes are triggered when malicious attachments or links are opened.

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

If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – your device has been infected. However, you might have avoided an infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require additional user interaction to jumpstart malware download/installation processes (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to detect and eliminate threats. It is capable of scanning devices and removing practically all known malware infections. Keep in mind that performing a full system scan is crucial since high-end malicious software typically hides deep within systems.

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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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