How to spot scams like Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets

Also Known As: Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets"?

After examining this email, our team has found that scammers behind it are pretending to raise money for Ukraine - they are taking advantage of the crisis to trick recipients into sending them money. This is not the first time scammers are exploiting the situation. Recently, lots of scammers were (and still are) taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets email scam

More about "Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets" scam

The purpose of this email is to trick recipients into believing that they can support Ukraine by sending Bitcoins to the provided BTC wallet address. The email is disguised as a letter from Volodymyr Zelenskyy itself. It mentions that all donations will go to an organization/movement called "Stand with the people of Ukraine".

If you are willing to support Ukraine by donating money, choose reputable charities. Make sure to go directly to the organization's web page. Do the research before sending money, especially after receiving an email asking to donate money.

Threat Summary:
Name Ukrainian Government Is Embracing Digital Assets Email Scam
Threat Type Scam, Fraud
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address bc1q3heg9nn0cfp3cqyejfkpnz279yzwww2r774rhw
Disguise Letter from organization collecting donations for Ukraine
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 email scams in general

Using email to trick people into transferring money is very popular among scammers since it does not take much effort to achieve it. As a rule, scammers disguise their emails as important/urgent letters from legitimate companies, organizations, etc. They also use email to trick recipients into providing sensitive information.

More examples of email scams are "Email policy & Privacy Violation Email Scam", "UN Ukraine Humanitarian Organization Email Scam", "Zoho Email Phishing Scam". Another example of misusing email for malicious purposes is sending emails to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Emails used to deliver malware have malicious files attached to them or contain website links. In both cases, their purpose is to trick recipients into executing malicious files. Usually, cybercriminals use JavaScript files, archives, executables, PDF, Microsoft Office, or other documents to distribute malware. Computers get infected after a malicious file is executed.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open links and files presented in irrelevant emails received from unknown addresses. Always examine suspicious emails before opening received attachments (or links). Download software and files from legitimate sources (official websites, platforms). Do not trust files or programs downloaded from shady pages or via third-party downloaders, P2P networks, etc.

Keep the operating system and installed software up to date. Achieve it using tools provided by the official developers. Never use unofficial/third-party tools for that - they usually contain malware. 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 "Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets" email letter:

Subject: Support For Ukraine


Amidst the ongoing horrific War brought to us by the Russians. The Ukrainian government is embracing digital assets as it looks for ways to raise money for its military and its dying citizens, most especially our innocent kids.

We want to bring back hope to our land

The Stand with the people of Ukraine movement now accepting cryptocurrency donations as supports.

Please find below bitcoin wallet address:

0.1 BTC -10 BTC no amount is small

People of the world, We will never forget your support at this hard times, thanks

We Say No to War !!

We Say No to Destructions!!

We Say No to killing of Civilians !!

Thanks again.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy
For Ukrainians

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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?

It is likely that scammers have obtained your email address after a data breach. Either way, scammers send the same email to all addresses in their database (their emails are not personal).

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

Unfortunately, crypto transactions are virtually untraceable. It is unlikely that you will be able to retrieve transferred funds.

How emails can be used to deliver malware?

When cybercriminals use email to distribute malware, they send emails containing malicious links or attachments. Recipients infect computers by opening/executing malicious files.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware infections. In order to remove high-risk malware, it is required to scan the operating system using a full scan. Usually, malware of this kind hides deep in the operating system (it cannot be detected using the quick scan).

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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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