Do not trust fake "British American Tobacco Company Promotion" emails

Also Known As: "British American Tobacco Company Promotion" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "British American Tobacco Company Promotion"?

After reading the "British American Tobacco Company Promotion" email, we determined that it is spam. The scam letter claims that the recipient was selected as a winner in a promotion supposedly held by the British American Tobacco company.

It must be stressed that this prize is nonexistent, nor has the recipient won any rewards. Additionally, it must be mentioned that this mail is not associated with any legitimate companies or other entities.

British American Tobacco Company Promotion email spam campaign

"British American Tobacco Company Promotion" email scam overview

The spam letter states that the recipient's email address has been selected as a winner in a British American Tobacco promotion. The prize is £852,000.00 (GBP). The email instructs to contact the "claim officer" to receive the winnings.

As mentioned in the introduction, all the information provided in this email is false, and this mail is not associated with the actual British American Tobacco p.l.c. or any other legitimate companies/entities.

The scams promoted by this kind of spam mail can vary. They lure recipients into communicating with scammers, who keep up the pretense set in the deceptive email (e.g., claims officers, attorneys, bank representatives, IT technicians, etc.). While the end goal of all scams is profit, how that is achieved can differ greatly.

Victims can be deceived into sending money to scammers under the guise of paying taxes, fees, or other legitimate-sounding payments. Difficult-to-trace methods are used to obtain the funds, e.g., cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, or cash hidden in packages and shipped.

However, revenue can be made indirectly as well. Some spam also operates as a phishing scam. Targeted information can include log-in credentials of various accounts (e.g., emails, social networking/media, e-commerce, money transferring, online banking, etc.), personally identifiable details (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, etc.), and finance-related data (e.g., banking account details, debit/credit card numbers, etc.). The sensitive information can then be sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals) or be otherwise abused for profit.

To summarize, victims of spam mail like "British American Tobacco Company Promotion" can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already disclosed personally identifiable or finance-related information – immediately contact relevant authorities. And if the data provided to scammers were log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "British American Tobacco Company Promotion" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has won a £852.000 prize.
Disguise British American Tobacco p.l.c.
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

Spam emails are used to endorse various scams, such as lottery, inheritance, phishing, refund, tech support, sextortion, etc. These letters are also utilized in malware distribution (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptominers, etc.).

Spam is often poorly constructed, but it can also be incredibly believable and even be competently disguised as emails from legitimate entities (e.g., companies, institutions, organizations, service providers, etc.).

"Santander Bank Deal", "Salary Increase", "Claim Sum Release", "Internet Is A Dangerous Place", "You Have Been Under Surveillance", "Roundcube Password Set To Expire", "Quotation Request", and "Urgent Requirement For The Supply" are just some examples of spam emails we have investigated recently.

Due to how widespread this mail is and how well-made it can be – we highly recommend treating incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages with caution.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns are commonly used to spread malware. Deceptive emails/messages can include malicious files as attachments or download links. The files arrive in various formats, e.g., documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Merely opening a virulent file can be enough to trigger a system infection chain. However, some formats require additional user interaction to begin downloading/installing malware. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is important to always treat incoming emails and other messages with care. Attachments or links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be harmful/infectious.

Note that malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we advise caution while browsing, as fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.

Additionally, all downloads must be made from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update software using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters may contain malware.

We must emphasize that having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date is essential to device integrity and user safety. Security programs 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 "British American Tobacco Company Promotion" spam email letter:

Subject: British American Tobacco company

Good Day,
Your email address was among the lucky winners of £852,000.00 in the ongoing British American Tobacco company promotion.

Contact claim officer via email address below for details and claim:

Richard Ewdard : E-Mail {richardedy@accountant.com}


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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, even if they include details relevant to the recipients. This mail is distributed in massive 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 disclosed your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support. However, if the provided information was of a different personal nature (e.g., passport photos/scans, ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

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

Opening/Reading an email poses no infection threat. Devices are compromised when malicious attachments or links are opened.

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

Whether the system was infected might depend on the opened file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. However, you might have avoided the infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). Certain formats can require additional actions (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded files/links, etc.) to jumpstart infection processes.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is designed to scan computers and eliminate all manner of threats. It can detect and remove nearly all known malware infections. Remember that sophisticated malicious software usually hides deep within systems – therefore, performing a full system scan is essential.

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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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