How to avoid falling for fraudulent emails like "Foreign Compensation Commission" scam

Also Known As: Foreign Compensation Commission advance-fee scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Foreign Compensation Commission"?

We have examined this email and determined that this a fraudulent letter crafted by scammers. The email is disguised as a notification regarding a payment. It claims that recipients are entitled to a large sum of money. The purpose of this scam is to extract money and (or) information from unsuspecting recipients.

Foreign Compensation Commission scam email

More about the "Foreign Compensation Commission" scam email

This email claims to be from Foreign Compensation Commission and promises the recipient a compensation payment of $2.4 million. It provides a reference number and urges the recipient to contact an account officer named Prof. Maxwell Brown with their personal information.

The email threatens that the compensation will be terminated if there's no response within five working days. However, this is a scam designed to trick recipients into providing personal information or paying upfront fees (scams of this type are known as advance-fee scams).

Scammers behind this email may request unsuspecting recipients for personal information such as full name, address, phone number, email address, bank account details, social security number, or passport/ID card information. Such information can be misused for identity theft, financial fraud, unauthorized access to accounts, or other malicious purposes.

In upfront payment/advance-fee schemes, scammers typically request money from recipients, supposedly as expenses required for claiming a promised reward or compensation. They claim that the payment is necessary to release the funds or to proceed with the process. However, once the victim sends the money, they never receive any rewards or other returns promised by scammers.

Threat Summary:
Name Foreign Compensation Commission Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients can receive a large sum of money
Disguise Letter from Theresa May Morgan (Foreign Compensation Commission)
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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In conclusion, this email is a classic example of an advance-fee scam. Scammers employ false promises of compensation to lure recipients into providing personal information or transferring money. In order to avoid falling for such scams, recipients should be skeptical of unsolicited emails offering large sums of money or other rewards.

Examples of similar scams are "New Investor", "British American Tobacco Company Promotion", and "Claim Sum Release". It is important to mention that scam emails can contain files (attachments) or links designed to trick recipients into infecting their computers.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Usually, when cybercriminals distribute malware through email, they attach malicious files (like executables, MS Office documents, PDFs, or archives) or include links. Malware is injected when these files are opened. However, sometimes malware infiltration requires additional actions from users, such as enabling macros in infected MS Office documents.

Malware can also be activated through files downloaded from websites accessed via email links. Furthermore, links received via email may lead to websites designed to download malware automatically.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when handling emails with links or attachments. Refrain from opening the contents of irrelevant emails from unfamiliar senders. Obtain apps and files exclusively from official websites and app stores. Do not trust ads, buttons, pop-ups, etc., on suspicious websites. Ensure your operating system, software, and security tools are regularly updated.

Avoid installing pirated software, using cracking tools, or third-party key generators. Install reputable security software and conduct regular computer scans. 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 "Foreign Compensation Commission" email letter:


Dear Beneficiary,
Reference Number UNPB/UN/05X2S/2024
We are pleased to inform you about the outcome of the final decision made after the meeting held by this board, the British Compensation commission, the United nation and the United states of American representatives here in London, United Kingdom in regards to all Foreign compensation.
Be informed that you were listed among a few to receive the sum of 2.4 million United States Dollars only as your retrieved and full compensation sum from this board, also be informed that your compensation with Reference Number UNPB/UN/05X2S/2024 would be reserved for FIVE working days after which will be terminated, if there is no response from you.
Please endeavor to contact the Account Officer in-charge of your payment Prof. Maxwell Brown with your Payment Approval Reference Number UNPB/UN/05X2S/2024.
Send your full name, contact address, and direct phone number directly to him.
His email contact detail is ( mrmaxwellbrown17@gmail.com )
Theresa May Morgan
Foreign Compensation Commission

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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?

Scammers send identical emails to thousands of recipients, banking on the chance that someone will be tricked. Usually, these emails lack personalization (names of the recipients or other personal details).

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

If you have shared any account credentials (e.g., email addresses and passwords), change all passwords right away. If you have disclosed other personal information, like credit card details or ID card information, contact the relevant authorities immediately.

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

The likelihood of your computer becoming infected varies depending on the type of file you open. Executable files such as .exe files pose a high risk of malware infection when activated. Opening infected document files presents a lower risk of infection, as they usually require enabling macros commands to infiltrate malware.

I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in such email, can I get my money back?

Such transactions are nearly impossible to trace and they are irreversible, making it unlikely for you to recover your cryptocurrency.

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

Opening an email poses no risk. Malware cannot be infiltrated through email without recipients opening malicious attachments or links.

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

Combo Cleaner efficiently detects and eliminates malware. This app is capable of identifying almost all known infections. Given that advanced malware can conceal itself deeply in the system, conducting a full system scan is essential to ensure detection and removal.

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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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