How to identify phishing campaigns like "Incoming Mail Notification"

Also Known As: Incoming Mail Notification phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is "Incoming Mail Notification"?

After conducting an examination, it has become evident that the content of this email is the work of scammers intending to deceive recipients into divulging sensitive information. Such fraudulent emails are commonly referred to as phishing emails. Recipients should exercise utmost caution and refrain from engaging with or responding to such deceptive communications.

Incoming Mail Notification email spam campaign

More about the "Incoming Mail Notification" scam email

This phishing email employs a deceptive subject line, "Message Failure Delivery Notice," to create a sense of urgency and concern. The email falsely claims to be a message failure delivery notice originating from the "Mail Delivery Subsystem" associated with an email service provider.

The content of the email attempts to lure the recipient into believing that there are pending messages not delivered to their inbox, attributing this issue to a supposed system delay. In order to address this fabricated problem, the recipient is prompted to take immediate action and click the "Release To Inbox" link.

In an attempt to appear trustworthy, the email asserts that it has been scanned and deemed safe, potentially to allay any suspicions the recipient might have. This, however, is a common tactic used by phishing emails to manipulate users into interacting with deceptive content.

Clicking on the link leads the user to a phishing website designed to mimic the appearance of the email service provider associated with the recipient's email address. In practical terms, if the recipient is using Gmail, the resulting page will closely resemble the login interface of Gmail.

The purpose of this phishing page is to extract email account login credentials. Scammers use stolen email account login credentials to gain access to the victim's email account. Once inside, they may exploit the compromised account for various malicious activities, including information theft, unauthorized access to other accounts linked to the email, and spreading phishing scams or malware to the victim's contacts.

Also, they may try to use the stolen login credentials to access other accounts. This could include social media profiles, online banking accounts, e-commerce platforms, and various other online services.

Threat Summary:
Name Incoming Mail Notification Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim You have pending messages
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

In conclusion, vigilance against phishing emails is paramount. Recognizing the common tactics employed by cybercriminals, such as deceptive subject lines, urgency, and mimicry of legitimate services, is crucial for safeguarding personal and sensitive information.

Users should exercise caution, verify the authenticity of unexpected emails, and refrain from clicking on suspicious links to protect themselves from falling victim to phishing scams. Some examples of phishing campaigns are "Quarantine Area", "FedEx - Delivery Of The Suspended Package", and "You've Got Mail".

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users infect computers via email by clicking on malicious links or opening infected attachments contained in deceptive emails. Cybercriminals often attach malicious files, such as executable (.exe) files, JavaScript files, ISO files, archives, or document files containing embedded macros (e.g., Word or Excel documents), to deliver malware.

Links in emails intended to distribute malware, when clicked, lead to harmful websites or initiate downloads of malicious content.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when receiving emails, especially those from unknown or unexpected sources. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments presented in irrelevant or suspicious emails. Keep your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications up to date to patch potential vulnerabilities.

Exercise caution when encountering unexpected pop-ups and ads, especially those prompting you to download software, updates, or protect your computer. Download files and apps from reliable sources such as official pages and application stores. Avoid downloading pirated software or unofficial tools to activate the software.

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 "Incoming Mail Notification" email letter:

Subject: Message Failure Delivery Notice.

Message generated from ******** Mail Delivery Subsystem.

Incoming Mail Notification
Dear ******** ,
You have Pending Messages not delivered to Inbox ********.
This was due to a system delay.

Rectify Below:

Release To Inbox

This mail has been scanned and considered safe.

Phishing website provided in this email:

Incoming Mail Notification email scam phishing website

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced IT 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:
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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?

Typically, scammers send identical emails to thousands of recipients, hoping that someone will fall victim to their schemes. These unsolicited emails lack personalization and are designed for mass distribution rather than tailored communication.

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

In the event that you have shared your email login details with scammers, it is crucial to take immediate action. Update your password, closely monitor your accounts for any irregularities, and notify your email provider.

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

Usually, opening an executable file results in a computer infection. However, in other scenarios, merely opening a file, such as an MS Office document, is typically insufficient for malware infiltration unless additional actions are taken.

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

Opening an email does not pose a threat. The possibility of infections occurs when users click on links within the email or open attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner possesses the ability to detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. As sophisticated threats frequently hide deep within the system, performing a comprehensive system scan is crucial for identifying and removing them effectively.

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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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