How to spot scams like "Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP)"

Also Known As: Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP) phishing email
Damage level: Medium

What is "Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP)"?

We have examined this email and found that it is fraudulent, supposedly sent by Dr. Peider Mengiard. This is a phishing email disguised as a letter regarding important transaction information. Scammers usually use such emails to steal money or personal information from victims. Thus, this email should be ignored.

Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP) email spam campaign

More about the "Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP)" scam email

This fraudulent email claims to be from the Swiss Independent Commission of Experts, specifically Dr. Peider Mengiardi, a member of the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (ICEP) in Switzerland. The email states that ICEP has been responsible for locating dormant Swiss bank accounts belonging to non-Swiss citizens since World War II.

It says that in January 2005, the Swiss Bankers Association published a list of such accounts. The email also mentions important transaction information and instructs recipients to respond to mengiardpeider@gmail.com. However, this email is a scam designed to trick recipients into taking certain actions.

Usually, scammers behind such emails try to extract sensitive information like credit card details, ID card information, login credentials, or other details. They can also try to trick recipients into paying advance fees to lure them into sending money. Either way, such emails should not be responded to and ignored.

Threat Summary:
Name Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP) Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The sender will provide important transaction information
Disguise Letter from a member of the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (ICEP)
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

Phishing emails are often created to appear legitimate by using real (or fake) logos, names, addresses, and other elements. Typically, they use urgent language or offer prizes, rewards, or other benefits as bait. It is also common for such emails to include links to fake websites designed to steal information.

Some examples of phishing emails are "Restore/Confirm Your Email Access", "Review For Your Account", and "Authorization To Claim Funds". Recipients of such emails should know that they might be used to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

When emails are crafted to trick users into infecting their computers, they contain malicious links or files/attachments. Opening these links can lead to web pages designed to trick users into downloading malicious files or programs or automatically download them. Opening malicious attachments does not always result in immediate infections.

For instance, malicious MS Office files cannot infect computers unless macros commands are enables, and archive files cannot cause harm until malicious contents are extracted and executed. More examples of files used to deliver malware via email and other channels are PDF documents, executables, JavaScript files, and ISO files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Always obtain software and files from trustworthy sources, such as official websites and app stores. Steer clear of P2P networks, unofficial sites, and pirated software or tools meant to bypass software activation. Be careful when dealing with email attachments (files) and links from unknown or suspicious senders in irrelevant or suspicious emails.

Keep your operating system, software, and antivirus programs up to date. Avoid clicking on pop-ups, ads and suspicious links on dubious websites. 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 "Independent Committee Of Eminent Persons (ICEP)" email letter:

Subject: Dear Friend

Swiss Independent Commission of Experts
Seconde Guerre Mondiale Commission Bergier,
Badenerstrasse 141
Postfach 7589
8023 Zurich, Switzerland
I am Dr Peider Mengiardi, a member of the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (ICEP), Switzerland.
ICEP is charged with the responsibility of finding bank accounts in Switzerland belonging to non-Swiss indigenes, which have remained dormant since World War II. It may interest you to know that In January 13 2005, the Swiss Bankers Association published a list of dormant accounts originally opened by non-Swiss citizens. These accounts had been dormant since the end of World War II (May 9, 1945). Most belonged to Holocaust victims.
I have a very important transaction information for you as soon as you get back to me. I am waiting for your Response on :  mengiardpeider@gmail.com
Yours Sincerely,
Dr Peider Mengiard

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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?

Typically, scammers behind such emails do not target anyone in particular. They send the same email to all recipients. Their goal is to trick at least someone.

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

If you have shared any account credentials, such as usernames and passwords, change all your passwords immediately. If you have disclosed other personal information, such as credit card details, social security numbers, or ID card information, contact the relevant authorities promptly.

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

If the file was an executable (like .exe), it is very likely your system is infected. However, if it was a document (.pdf, .doc, etc.), you might have avoided infection, as simply opening these documents often is not enough for malware to infiltrate operating system.

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

Such transactions are virtually untraceable, making it impossible to recover the funds.

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

Opening an email by itself is completely harmless. System infections can occur when recipients click on links within the email or open attached files.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware. However, advanced malware often hides deep within the system. In these cases, users must run a full system scan to detect and remove malware of this kind.

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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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