What is "BITCOIN DONATE"?
"BITCOIN DONATE" is a scam promoted on various deceptive websites. It claims that users will receive cryptocurrency for participating in the "MUTUAL ASSISTANCE FUND"/ "Bitcoin Help" project. Supposedly, users will receive donations from other participants, but they will also have to transfer 0.001 BTC (Bitcoin cryptocurrency) to other participating users. However, victims of this scheme will not receive any Bitcoins and only lose what they "donate".
This scheme is presented as a project founded by Elon Musk; it must be emphasized that the entrepreneur and business magnate in question - is in no way associated with the scam.
"BITCOIN DONATE" has been observed being pushed through spam emails, yet it may have also been accessed via mistyped URLs, or redirects caused by rogue sites, intrusive ads, or installed PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
"BITCOIN DONATE" scam in detail
At the time of research, the "BITCOIN DONATE" scam was promoted through deceptive emails. The letters themselves do not contain elaborate text pushing the scheme; some are even blank. The spam emails contain an HTML file that redirects to the initial scam page (image below).
This website states that it is the page of a "Mutual aid fund" founded by Elon Musk. Users who participate in it will allegedly receive from 0.001 to 0.055 BTC. Through this webpage - users access a different site that runs the "BITCOIN DONATE" scam.
The website requests users to provide their name, cryptowallet address, and photo (optional) - so that they could receive donations (0.001 BTC each) from the first 25-100 participants of the project. Once these instructions are completed, the scam redirects through several pages, each representing a participant who has donated to the user's digital wallet.
After the maximum number of donations is reached, users are asked to donate 0.001 BTC to another user. However, all of the donations the victims has received are fake, so when they try to return the favor and donate - they only lose the transferred funds. Therefore, by trusting the "BITCOIN DONATE" scam, users will experience a financial loss.
|Name||BITCOIN DONATE scam website|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims users will receive Bitcoin donations for making a donation themselves.|
|Disguise||Scam is disguised as a Mutual aid fund/ Financial assistance project founded by Elon Musk.|
|Related Domains||bitcoindonateur[.]site and msto[.]me|
|Detection Names (bitcoindonateur[.]site)||CRDF (Malicious), Fortinet (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Detection Names (msto[.]me)||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||126.96.36.199 (msto[.]me)|
|Symptoms||Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.|
|Distribution methods||Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Online scams in general
The Internet is rife with deceptive and malicious content. Cryptocurrency-centered scams are quite popular. There have been several instances where scammers claim their "projects" to be the creations of Elon Musk, e.g., "Doge Giveaway", "Dogelon Mars (ELON) giveaway", and "SHIBA (SHIB) Giveaway". It is common for scams to name-drop real people and companies to create the impression of legitimacy.
In summary, trusting scams can result in system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft. Therefore, it is advised to exercise caution when browsing and with incoming emails/messages.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Some unwanted applications have "official" download pages. Intrusive advertisements are also used to proliferate PUAs. Once clicked on, the ads can execute scripts to make stealthy downloads/installations. PUAs are primarily distributed using the "bundling" technique - packing regular programs with unwanted/malicious additions. Rushed downloads/installations increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
It is recommended to research software and download it only from official/verified channels. Untrustworthy sources, e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, etc. - commonly offer bundled content.
When downloading/installing, it is advised to read terms, explore possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings to opt-out from all additions. Intrusive adverts appear legitimate; however, they redirect to questionable websites (e.g., gambling, adult-dating, pornography, etc.).
In case of encounters with such ads and/or redirects, the system must be inspected and all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins detected - removed from it without delay. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented in the "BITCOIN DONATE" scam:
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROJECT
Mon-Fri: from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm
Sat, Sun: from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Your ip address:
1 354 268 (people)
Get Bitcoin help from all over the world!
Instant payments to your Bitcoin wallet.
More than 1,000,000 people who have applied to the project have already received Bitcoin assistance.
All transactions for the provision of Bitcoin assistance are made by the participants voluntarily, directly between each other.
In order to take part in the international project "Bitcoin Help", please indicate your Bitcoin wallet below. Next, accept voluntary bitcoin help from 25-100 first participants in the project, each of whom will transfer an amount of 0.001 bitcoin to your balance, after which help one of the participants and receive the bitcoins donated to you in your bitcoin wallet. You can receive financial assistance in bitcoin every day.
Enter your payment details
Enter your name
Enter Bitcoin address
* Enter the correct address of your bitcoin wallet to receive user donations.
In the future, it will be impossible to change the address.
Bitcoin DONATE - International Financial Assistance Project
General license of the international association №GB-15169718 from 05.12.2016
© 2016 - 2021 International project «Bitcoin DONATE». All rights reserved
Screenshot of the scam webpage promoted by spam emails:
Text presented in this page:
Elon Musk - Mutual aid fund
Hello, dear friend.
My name is Elon Musk.
It has been exactly a year since I organized
MUTUAL ASSISTANCE FUND in cryptocurrency.
Each member of the fund can receive
Instant help from other participants in bitcoins
0.001 to 0.055 bitcoin
For you, I left a unique invitation at the link below
Best regards, founder of the fund
The appearance of "BITCOIN DONATE" pop-up scam (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer 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:
- What is "BITCOIN DONATE scam"?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted applications:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the bitcoin donate scam website, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with bitcoin donate scam website removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the bitcoin donate scam website, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove bitcoin donate scam website from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a pop-up scam?
A pop-up scam is a deceptive message that attempts to trick users into performing specific actions (e.g., installing malware, revealing personal data, calling scammers, etc.). In the case of "BITCOIN DONATE", this scam aims to lure victims into transferring cryptocurrency to the scammers by claiming that they will receive more in return.
What is the purpose of a pop-up scam?
In simple terms, pop-up scams are designed to generate revenue for their designers. The "BITCOIN DONATE" scam does so by tricking victims into transferring cryptocurrency to it. Other schemes profit by spreading malware, selling sensitive data disclosed by users, and so on.
I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in the "BITCOIN DONATE" scam, can I get my money back?
Cryptocurrency transactions are practically untraceable; therefore, you will be unable to return the transferred funds.
Why do I encounter fake pop-ups?
Pop-up scams are promoted on untrustworthy websites, which are seldom visited intentionally. Users are usually redirected to such pages by rogue websites, browser notifications/ intrusive ads, or the scam sites can be force-opening by unwanted applications installed onto the system.
Will Combo Cleaner protect me from pop-up scams?
Combo Cleaner is capable of scanning visited websites detecting malicious ones. Sites that run pop-up scams fall under this category. Therefore, you will be warned, and the access to such webpages will be restricted.