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How to spot scams like "Help My Daughter" email scam

Also Known As: Help My Daughter scam
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Help My Daughter"?

We have examined this email and determined that it is a scam. Scammers behind this email aim to trick recipients into believing they will receive a certain amount of money for helping to take care of a daughter of a woman diagnosed with cancer. Scammers who have written this email only intend to steal money and (or) information.

Help My Daughter email scam

More about the "Help My Daughter" scam email

Scammers behind this scam pretend to be Gladys Martin, a widow diagnosed with cancer who only has two months to live. They also claim that the woman has a 15-year-old daughter named Stephanie. Their goal is to trick recipients into believing they will receive thirty percent of 5 million dollars as compensation for helping to raise Gladys's daughter.

Typically, fraudsters use such scam emails to trick recipients into sending money (e.g., paying "administration" or other fees) and (or) providing personal information like credit card details, ID card information, social security numbers, etc.

People who fall for such scams never receive any money. They lose money, become victims of identity theft, or encounter other issues. Thus, scammers behind this email should not be provided with any information, and no money should be transferred to them.

Threat Summary:
Name Help My Daughter Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipients will receive 30% from 5 million dollars for taking care of a teenager
Disguise Letter from a widow who has only two months left to live.
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 scam emails in general

"Unsuccessful Cash Box Delivery Email Scam", "Abandoned Funds Email Scam" and "Real Estate Investment Email Scam" are other scams where scammers aim to extract money and (or) personal information from unsuspecting recipients. Usually, these emails are disguised as letters from real people or companies, organizations, or other entities.

It is important to mention that crooks can also use email to trick recipients into infecting their computers with malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cybercriminals who use email to distribute malware send malicious files (attachments) or links. Their goal is to trick recipients into downloading and executing malware. Users infect computers by opening malicious files.

Not all files infect computers immediately after opening them. For instance, malicious MS Office documents do not infect computers until macros commands are enabled. Opening archives (like ZIP and RAR) is also harmless until their contents are executed.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Do not open link and files presented in emails without being sure it is safe. Double-check emails containing files (attachments) and website links. Especially when emails are irrelevant and sent from unknown addresses.

Download software from official pages and stores only. Do not trust advertisements and links on questionable web pages. Keep the operating system and installed programs updated. Use reputed antivirus software.

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 "Help My Daughter" email letter:

Subject: hi dear

Hello, I am Gladys Martin, from USA, I am a widow, currently living with my only daughter Stephanie, she is 15, I am writing to ask for your help to please accept my daughter and raise her, I have no one to help  take care of her because I was recently diagnosed with cancer, and I only have two months to live  according to my doctor. We have  the sum of Five  million dollars $5M inside a box in a security company in Dubai UAE,  that we inherited from my late husband. We are willing to transfer this  money to you while you help my daughter to come to your country to continue her education and you invest the money for her in a good and lucrative business in your country,  please help us. We are willing to offer you 30% of the total money as compensation for your help. reply me on my email address for more details  ( gladys.martin355@gmail.com)

Another example of a scam email asking to help the daughter:

Help My Daughter email scam variant (2023-01-25)

Text presented within:

Subject: Dear good friend

 

The Russia’s Ukraine Invasion

I apologize if the content of my email is contrary to your moral ethics but I find it pleasurable to offer you my partnership in
business.

I am Captain Roses Jukru Robinson, an officer in the US Army, presently serving in the Military with the 82nd Airborne Division Peace KeepingForce here in Ukraine and the Russian war we discovered.

This Woman Mrs. Monica Daniels Tkachenko, my husband and two of my children are killed by the Russian military who invaded my country,
and I am presently in the hospital as a result of the injury I sustained from a bomb that blasted in our home that left my husband
and two children dead.

My husband was the CEO of Bellaire Scotland Ltd. I have a surviving daughter in Poland and her name is Zlata. I have a severe health issue
and the doctors said I may not survive the injury. My husband has a deposit of 6.800.000 US. Please I need your help in assisting me with
the safe keeping of (SIx Million Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars) . I want you to take her from the refugee camp in Poland and for you to be
her new father / Guardian and guide her to grow as the beautiful girl she is. You will put my Zlata into a good school in your country.

You will invest 50% of the money into a good business and use the benefits to train my daughter until she grows. You will put 30% of the
whole fund in a fixed deposit in your bank on behalf of my Zlata so that the money will be accessible to Zlata when she reaches 20 years.
You will take the remaining 20% for yourself and family. I hope you can be trusted? If you can be trusted, I will explain further when I
get a response from you for further clarification. Nevertheless,

please ensure to reply via my private E-mail: rosesjukru@gmail.com

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation,

Best Regards,

Captain Roses J. Robinson
U.S ARMY

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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?

Such letters are usually sent to many people at the same time. They are not personal.

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

Change all passwords immediately if you have provided any login information (e.g., usernames and passwords). If you have sent credit card details, ID card information, social security numbers, or similar details, contact the corresponding authorities as soon as possible.

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

If you have opened an executable file, your computer is probably infected. In other cases, users avoid computer infections if they open malicious files without performing additional actions (e.g., enabling macros commands in malicious MS Office documents).

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

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible.

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

No, emails cannot infect computers. Thus, your computer is not infected.

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

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and eliminate almost all known malware. High-end malware usually hides deep in the system. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to scan infected computers using a full 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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