Avoid getting scammed by the "Donation Grant For You" emails
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What kind of email is "Donation Grant For You"?
After inspecting the "Donation Grant For You" email, we determined that it is spam. These scam letters attempt to trick recipients into believing that they will receive a massive amount of money as support to individuals and businesses suffering economic setbacks. This mail claims that recipients' emails were selected as winners in a randomized process.
"Donation Grant For You" email scam overview
The scam email with the subject "CONGRATULATIONS..." (may vary) is presented as a message from Mackenzie Scott the American novelist and philanthropist, also the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos the American entrepreneur, founder and (currently former) CEO of Amazon.com, Inc.
The fake letter claims that 4 billion USD will be donated to various individuals and entities. The hoax donation is supposedly a relief effort to those economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The letter states that the recipient's email was selected to win through an "electronically conducted ballot process". The sum the recipient will allegedly receive is 8,500,000 USD, and they are encouraged to write to the provided contact for more information.
As mentioned in the introduction, all of the claims made by the "Donation Grant For You" emails - is false. Therefore, recipients of them will not receive any funds.
Typically, scams of this type work in two ways (or in a combination of both) - either as phishing or deception intended to lure money out of the victims.
Phishing scams can target a wide variety of information like personally identifiable details (e.g., names, surnames, occupations, etc.), addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, banking account numbers, credit card details, log-in credentials (i.e., usernames/passwords), and so on. This vulnerable information can be used to craft personalized scams or sold to third-parties.
Scams that promise funds/rewards/prizes often request victims to make payments for bogus reasons, e.g., fake shipping, storage, transaction, or other fees.
To summarize, by trusting the "Donation Grant For You" spam emails - users may experience system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.
|Name||Donation Grant For You spam email|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Fake Claim||Email claims that recipients were randomly selected to receive 8,500,000 USD.|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
Spam campaigns examples
We have analyzed thousands of spam emails; "GMAIL UK FREELOTTO", "336 Parts B.V.", "SYSTEM NOTIFICATION", "Salvation Army email scam" - are just a few of our latest finds. In addition to phishing and other scams, scam letters are also used to distribute malware (e.g., trojans, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc.). Due to how widespread spam mail is, we strongly advise exercising caution with incoming emails and messages.
How do spam campaigns infect computers?
How to avoid installation of malware?
We advise against opening the attachments and links found in dubious/irrelevant emails and messages - as that can result in a system infection. It is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic execution of macro commands.
Malware is proliferated using various techniques; therefore, we also recommend downloading from official/verified channels and activating/updating programs with tools provided by genuine developers (as illegal activation tools "cracks" and fake updates can contain malicious software).
We must emphasize the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats. 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 "Donation Grant For You" spam email letter:
I'm Mackenzie Scott, Ex-wife to Jeff Bezos (Amazon Founder and
CEO). I'm donating $4 billion to charities, churches,
colleges and businesses across the Globe from Scott's Foundation
to provide immediate support to people and businesses suffering
economically from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing
war in Ukraine. Your email emerged as one of the lucky winners
after an electronically conducted ballot process.
I have a donation grant worth $8,500,000.00 Dollars for you. You
are to contact Mr. BRADLEY WRUBEL for more information if you're
MR. BRADLEY WRUBEL
The Scott Foundation
P.O. Box 1513
Los Gatos, CA 95031-1513
Another example of donation-themed spam email:
Text presented within:
Greetings to you. Following Mr. Thomas Yi Mega Jackpot winning of $235.4 million on March 27, 2021 which he intend to use to pursue a variety of passions and make some charitable contributions to humanity. I am glad to inform you that you have been selected to benefit from his private donations aimed at touching lives as God has blessed his.
This donation of $4 million is made out to enable you strengthen your personal issues and generously extend hands of help to the less privileged, orphans and charity organizations within your locality.
Forward your message of acceptance to: email@example.com
Thomas Yi Mega
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 Donation Grant For You spam email?
- Types of malicious emails.
- How to spot a malicious email?
- What to do if you fell for an email scam?
Types of malicious 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.
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.
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:
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. Cyber criminals send them in large-scale operations; hence, thousands of users receive the same letters.
I have provided my personal information when tricked by a spam email, what should I do?
If you have provided log-in credentials - change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you have disclosed other private information (e.g., credit card numbers, ID card details, etc.) - immediately contact the corresponding authorities.
I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?
No, opening/reading a spam email will not initiate any malware download/installation processes. Infection chains are triggered when the attachments or links present in these letters are opened/clicked.
I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?
Whether an infection was jumpstarted might depend on the file's format. Executables (.exe, .run, etc.) cause infections almost without fail upon being opened. However, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, etc.) can require additional actions (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.
Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan systems, detect and eliminate most of the known malware infections. It must be stressed that running a full system scan is essential - since sophisticated malware typically hides deep within systems.
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