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Avoid getting scammed by fake "Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19" email

Also Known As: Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19 spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19"?

Our inspection of the "Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19" email swiftly revealed that it is spam. This letter states that the recipient has been randomly selected as a beneficiary of a huge grant. This scam is presented as a "funding commitment" of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of its work concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

It must be emphasized that this email is fake, and it is in no way associated with the actual Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or any other legitimate entities or persons.

Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19 email spam campaign

"Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19" email scam overview

This spam email congratulates the recipient for being selected as a beneficiary of a 1.5 million USD grant. The benefaction is allegedly part of the funding commitments made by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has already committed more than 2 billion USD to the cause. The letter encourages the recipient to use the provided information to connect to the appropriate offices and claim their grant.

As mentioned in the introduction, this scam mail is not associated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or any other real individuals/entities.

There are two scam models that fake monetary grant/award/lottery schemes typically use. They either operate as phishing scams and attempt to trick users into providing personal information, such as personally identifiable details (names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.), log-in credentials (emails, social media, online banking, e-commerce, or other accounts), finance-related data (e.g., bank account details, credit card numbers, etc.), and so forth.

Alternatively, these scams can lure victims into making bogus payments for transactions, storage, shipping, subscription, etc.

However, regardless of how the scam operates, users can experience severe issues by trusting it. Spam emails like "Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19" can lead to users experiencing system infections, serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials - change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support; if the provided data was of a different personal nature - immediately contact the appropriate authorities. Additionally, if you have made any monetary transactions - contact your financial service provider without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19 spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient will receive a 1.5 million dollar grant
Disguise Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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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Spam campaigns in general

We have analyzed thousands of phishing emails; "Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection", "Blocked (Important) Incoming Messages", "DHL e-Shipping Invoice", "2022 FIFA Lottery Award", and "Porn Websites I Attacked With My Virus Xploit" are just some examples of our latest finds.

In addition to various scams, this mail is used to proliferate trojans, ransomware, and other malware. Spam letters can be disguised as messages from legitimate foundations, organizations, institutions, authorities, companies, service providers, and other entities. However, regardless of what these emails claim - their sole goal is to generate revenue at victims' expense.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can have infectious files attached to and/or linked inside them. These files can be in various formats, e.g., Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

When a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened - the infection chain is triggered. For example, Microsoft Office documents cause infections by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend being careful with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages. The attachments and links present in suspicious/irrelevant mail - must not be opened as they may be malicious and cause system infections.

It is important to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

Aside from spam mail, malware is also commonly proliferated via dubious download channels, illegal program activation tools ("cracks"), fake updates, and online scams. Therefore, we also advise downloading only from official/verified sources and activating/updating software with functions/tools provided by legitimate developers.

Another recommendation is to be vigilant when browsing since fraudulent and malicious content usually appears ordinary and harmless.

We must stress the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs must be used to run regular system scans and to remove 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 "Funding Commitments To Fight COVID-19" email letter:

C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s!


As regards our funding commitments to fight COVID-19, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than US$2 b i l l i o n to the global COVID-19 response.


We are pleased to announce that your E M A I L ADDRESS has been s e l e c t e d as one of the lucky beneficiaries to receive a grant of US$1,500,000 under the Bill and Gates foundation. All beneficiaries were selected through the Global Random Integrated System.


Please use the contact information below to connect with a specific office or department that can best meet your needs.


E m a i l Contact: claims.your @cheapnet.it


Regards,


Mark Suzman
CEO, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


1991-2022 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All rights reserved.

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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?

Spam emails are not personal; thousands of users receive identical scam messages.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this 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 data (e.g., ID card details, passport scans, credit card numbers, etc.) - immediately contact the corresponding authorities.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, merely opening/reading an email will not trigger any malware download installation chains. These processes are initiated when the attachments or links found in this mail are opened/clicked.

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

If the file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) - most likely, yes - your device was infected. However, if it was a document (.doc, .pdf, .xls, etc.) - you might have avoided jumpstarting an infection, as these formats may require additional user interaction (e.g., enabling macro commands) to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate nearly all known malware infections. It must be emphasized that performing a full system scan is essential - since high-end malicious programs typically hide deep within systems.

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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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