How to spot fake emails like "Donation From Coca-Cola" scam email

Also Known As: Donation From Coca-Cola scam campaign
Damage level: Medium

What is "Donation From Coca-Cola"?

Following an analysis of this email, we have determined that it constitutes a fraudulent scheme. It masquerades as a communication from the Coca-Cola company. The scammers orchestrating such deceptive emails aim to obtain money or sensitive data from unsuspecting recipients. It is highly advisable to disregard and not engage with such emails.

Donation From Coca-Cola email spam campaign

More about the "Donation From Coca-Cola" scam email

In the scam email, the recipient is greeted with a message purportedly from James Quincey, the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. The email falsely claims that the recipient has been granted a substantial donation of five million United States dollars. The email instructs the recipient to contact an email address, thecocacolacompany54@gmail.com, to claim the supposed reward.

The message concludes with a copyright notice stating that it is sent on behalf of The Coca-Cola Company, implying legitimacy. However, this email is a fraudulent attempt to deceive recipients into providing personal information or money, and it should be treated with suspicion and ignored.

Scammers behind this email may seek to gather personal details such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, and potentially even social security numbers to use for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.

Also, scammers might aim to trick recipients into providing bank account details, credit card numbers, or other financial information with the intent of committing financial fraud or unauthorized transactions.

In some cases, the scammers may ask for an upfront payment or fee to process the supposed donation, luring victims into sending money with the promise of a larger reward that never materializes. They could also attempt to obtain login credentials for email accounts or other online services, which can lead to unauthorized access to personal or financial accounts.

Threat Summary:
Name Donation From Coca-Cola Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The recipient has been awarded a significant donation of five million US dollars.
Disguise Letter from the Coca-Cola company
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

Scam emails, like the one described above, typically masquerade as legitimate messages from well-known companies or individuals. They often promise substantial rewards or donations, enticing recipients to contact them via email.

However, the underlying intention is to deceive recipients into providing personal information, financial details, or advance payments, ultimately leading to identity theft, financial fraud, or unauthorized access to accounts.

More examples of scam emails are "Repair Response Email Scam", "Contract For Invoice Email Scam", and "Sign In Credentials Is Set To Expire Email Scam". It is important to know that emails sent by cybercriminals can be used to distribute malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Users can inadvertently jeopardize their computers by interacting with attachments or links in deceptive emails. These emails often include malicious attachments, such as PDFs, Microsoft Office documents (like Word or Excel), ISO files, JavaScript files, executable files with .exe extensions, or compressed files such as ZIP or RAR.

Upon opening these attachments or clicking the links provided, users may unknowingly trigger the download and activation of malicious software (e.g., ransomware or trojans).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when dealing with suspicious emails from unfamiliar or suspicious senders, especially if they contain attachments or links. Obtain software and files exclusively from reliable sources like official websites and authorized stores. Steer clear of dubious websites, unofficial app repositories, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, and similar platforms.

Install trustworthy antivirus or anti-malware software on your computer. Ensure that your operating system, software, and antivirus program are regularly updated. Be cautious when interacting with advertisements, pop-ups, or links on questionable websites.

If you have 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 From Coca-Cola" email letter:

Subject: congrats

Hello ,

I'm very delighted to inform you that you have received a donation of five million united states dollars ($5,000,000.00USD ) from The Coca-Cola Company .

Pls Contact us at :  thecocacolacompany54@gmail.com  

To Claim Reward

Warm regards,

James Quincey
Coca-Cola Company.

This email is sent to you from The Coca-Cola Company

© 2023 The Coca-Cola Company. 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?

Fraudsters dispatch identical messages to a multitude of individuals, banking on the chance that at least one individual will succumb to their schemes. These unsolicited emails are devoid of any individualized or personalized content.

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

If you have shared any account credentials, it is imperative to alter all passwords promptly. In the event that you have disclosed other personal information, such as credit card particulars or ID card details, it is crucial to get in touch with the relevant authorities without delay.

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

When you open a malicious email attachment, exposing your computer to potential risks can occur. Files bearing .exe extensions pose a higher level of danger, whereas infections commonly occur with file types like MS Office documents when users activate macro commands.

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

Transactions of this nature are nearly impossible to trace, making it improbable for you to recover them.

I have read the email but did not open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Merely opening an email on its own is secure and does not present an immediate threat. The risk arises when you click on links within the email or open attached files.

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

Combo Cleaner will thoroughly examine your computer and effectively eliminate malware. It has the capability to identify nearly all known pieces of malware. A comprehensive system scan is vital for the complete eradication of advanced malware, as these threats frequently conceal themselves deep within the system.

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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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