Do not trust emails promising you millions of dollars to "do god's work"

Also Known As: "Fund For God's Work" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Fund For God's Work"?

After inspecting the "Fund For God's Work" email, we determined that it is spam. The fake sender introduces themselves as a gravely ill widow who will give the email recipient an exorbitant amount of money to do god's work. It must be emphasized that all the claims made by this scam letter are false and must be disregarded.

Fund For God's Work email spam campaign

"Fund For God's Work" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "My beloved, can I confide in you ?" (may vary) was supposedly sent by a widow suffering a long-term illness. The letter then goes on to state that the sender has been praying for the recipient to be a true child of god – and thus worthy of receiving 17.5 million USD to do god's work.

As previously mentioned, this email is a scam, and all its claims are false. Schemes of this kind can operate by targeting recipients' personal data, e.g., names, addresses, telephone numbers, credit card details, etc. Scammers can profit by using this data to create personalized scams, steal victims' identities, or sell it to third-parties.

Additionally, such scams can request recipients to make monetary transactions (e.g., fees for transactions, shipping, storage, etc.) in order to allegedly receive significantly larger sums.

If the payment is to be made via a phishing website (e.g., disguised as a payment gateway, the victim's bank account sign-in page, etc.) – then the criminals can obtain sensitive finance-related information and use it to make fraudulent transactions or online purchases.

Alternatively, scammers can request the money to be transferred using difficult-to-trace methods, such as cryptocurrencies, gift cards, pre-paid vouchers, or hidden within innocent-looking packages and shipped.

In summary, by trusting emails like "Fund For God's Work" – users can experience system infections, severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have disclosed highly confidential information to scammers (e.g., ID card details, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact relevant authorities. And if you've provided account credentials – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "Fund For God's Work" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim A gravelly ill widow will give the email recipient 17.5 million USD to do god's work.
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 campaign examples

"People's Postcode Lottery", "Unknown Browser Login", "United Nations - Abandoned Shipment", "Next Of Kin", and "Crypto Payment Notification" are just some examples of spam emails that we have analyzed recently.

This mail can make various claims and wear different disguises, yet its sole goal is to generate revenue at victims' expense. In addition to facilitating a wide variety of scams, spam letters are also used to distribute trojans, ransomware, and other malware.

Due to how widespread and well-disguised spam mail can be – we strongly recommend being careful with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns proliferate malware through infectious files attached to or linked inside the emails. These files can be executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, and so on.

Once a virulent file is executed, run, or otherwise opened – the infection chain (i.e., malware download/installation) is jumpstarted. For example, Microsoft Office documents infect devices by executing malicious macro commands.

How to avoid installation of malware?

We highly recommend caution with incoming emails and other messages. The attachments or links found in suspect/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be malicious. It is essential to use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010, as they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

Since malware is not spread only through spam mail, we also advise downloading only from official and verified sources. Furthermore, all programs must be activated and updated using legitimate functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and fake updaters may contain malware.

We advise being vigilant while browsing since fraudulent and harmful online content usually appears ordinary and innocuous.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to perform 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 "Fund For God's Work" spam email letter:

Subject: My beloved, can I confide in you ?

Dear Trusting Friend in God,

Am Mrs. Linda Arthur from London, 58 years an aging widow suffering
from long term illness. I have the sum of $17.5M For you to use the
fund for God’s work. I found your e-mail address as a real Child of God
for over a month now that I have been praying about you to know if
really you are working according to the direction of God so after all
my prayers I am convinced, reply me with this email
address: ( lyn.arthur011@gmail.com )

Yours in the Lord
Mrs. Linda Arthur.

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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?

Cyber criminals send spam emails in massive operations – hence, thousands of users receive identical messages.

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

If you have provided personally identifiable or finance-related information (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities. And if you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay.

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 processes. Devices are infected when the malicious attachments/links found in spam mail are opened.

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

Whether your device was infected might depend on the open file's format. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes. On the other hand, document formats (.doc, .xls, etc.) might need 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 is designed to detect and remove threats. It can eliminate nearly all known malware infections. Keep in mind that since sophisticated malicious programs typically hide deep within systems – performing a full system scan is crucial.

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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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