Avoid getting scammed by fake "Asian Welfare Lottery" emails

Also Known As: "Asian Welfare Lottery" phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Asian Welfare Lottery"?

After investigating the "Asian Welfare Lottery" email, we determined that it is spam. This mail promotes a phishing scam. It states that the recipient has won 1.5 million USD, and to claim the prize – they must provide their personally identifiable information.

It is noteworthy that in addition to targeting sensitive data, spam emails of this kind may also aim to deceive recipients into sending money to scammers.

Asian Welfare Lottery email spam campaign

"Asian Welfare Lottery" email scam overview

This spam email states that through a random computerized process, the recipient was selected as the winner of the "Asian Welfare Lottery". The recipient's email address was drawn from a 55,000,000 mail pool. The prize that they won is 1,500,000 USD.

The letter urges to contact the claims agent and provide them with the following information: full name, sex, nationality, occupation, country of residence, home address, ID card or passport copy, and contact details (phone number, fax, etc.). The recipient is advised to keep information about the win – a secret.

It must be stressed that this email is a scam – hence, recipients have not won any lotteries, nor is this mail associated with any legitimate entities.

The letter emphasizes secrecy, which is not uncommon for such schemes since preventing victims from seeking second opinions betters the chances of the scam's success.

With the targeted data in the scammers' possession, they may carry out a variety of nefarious deeds and even steal victims' identities.

It is pertinent to mention this type of spam mail often seeks finance-related information or money directly. The former may be requested for the purpose of sending the "winnings" to victims. Online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit card numbers, digital wallet credentials, and similar data may be used to facilitate fraudulent transactions and/or online purchases.

The latter may be presented as taxes or transaction fees. Cyber criminals use difficult-to-trace methods for acquiring funds, such as cryptocurrencies, gift cards, pre-paid vouchers, or cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped. By relying on these methods, the criminals minimize the likelihood of successful prosecution and fund retrieval by victims. It must be mentioned that successfully scammed victims are often targeted repeatedly.

In summary, by trusting an email like "Asian Welfare Lottery" – users may experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.

If you have disclosed your personally identifiable or finance-related information – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Asian Welfare Lottery" phishing email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has won $1,500,000 in the Asian Welfare Lottery.
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

We have examined thousands of spam emails; "WeTransfer - Order Specifications", "Employees Performance Report", "Bank Confirmation", "Scam Relief Fund Initiative", "Email Account Will Expire", "UnitedHealthcare", and "KYC (Know Your Customer) Verification" are merely some of our latest finds.

Phishing mail like "Asian Welfare Lottery" primarily targets personally identifiable details, log-in credentials (e.g., emails, social media, e-commerce, online banking, money transferring, cryptowallets, etc.), and finance-related data. However, deceptive emails are used to promote various scams and even to spread malware.

Due to how widespread spam mail is and how well-made it can be – we strongly recommend being careful with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cyber criminals commonly use spam campaigns to distribute malware. The emails/messages can have malicious files attached to or linked inside them. These files come in various formats, e.g., documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once opened, a virulent file triggers the malware download/installation chain. Some formats may require additional actions to jumpstart system infection processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is essential to exercise caution with incoming emails and other messages. Attachments or links present in dubious/relevant mail must not be opened, as they can be infectious. We recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since their "Protected View" mode prevents automatic macro execution.

However, malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official and trustworthy sources. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

Another recommendation is to be vigilant while browsing since fraudulent and dangerous online contact usually appears legitimate and harmless.

We must emphasize that having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated is paramount to device/user safety. Security software must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats/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 "Asian Welfare Lottery" spam email letter:

Subject: Re:From Asian welfare lottery

Asian welfare lottery
st.218, Plov Lom road,
Tuek Thla village,
Teuk Thla commune,
Sen Sok district,
Phnom Penh. Cambodia
Dear lucky Winner
We wish to congratulate and inform you on the selection of the (Asian welfare lottery) of cash prize USD$1,500,000.00 held in Indonesia.The selection process was carried out through random selection in Our computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over 55,000,000 worldwide email addresses.
Note: Your winning pin is AWL 07/2023/070100. You are to keep your pin and winning confidential for security reasons and also to avoid dual claims.
Please contact our Indonesia Claim agent Mulyadi Supardi with the below required information.

Agent Name: Mulyadi Supardi
Email:  supriantojunaidi62@gmail.com
1.Name in full:
2.Your Address:
4.Copy of your ID card or international passport:
8.Present Country:
Winners are advised to keep their winning details from the public to avoid Fraudulent claims
Staff of the Asian welfare lottery are not Authorize to partake in this Lottery
Yours faithfully,
Mrs Adiratna Citra Baskoro

Appearance of the "Asian Welfare Lottery" spam email (GIF):

Asian Welfare Lottery scam email appearance (GIF)

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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. Cyber criminals distribute them in mass-scale operations with the hopes that at least some recipients will fall for their scams.

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

If you have provided your personally identifiable or finance-related information (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the corresponding authorities. However, if you've disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay.

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

No, reading an email will not initiate any system infection processes. Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked.

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 – since these files cause infections almost without fail. However, you might have avoided compromising the system if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.). These formats may require extra actions (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.) to initiate malware download/installation processes.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate all manner of threats. It is capable of detecting and removing most of the known malware infections. Note that performing a complete system scan is key since sophisticated malicious programs usually hide 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.

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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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