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Avoid getting scammed by fake "Work For Charity" emails

Also Known As: "Work For Charity" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Work For Charity"?

After reviewing the "Work For Charity" email, we determined that it is spam. This letter requests the recipient to distribute the sender's funds to charity. For their efforts, the recipient is promised 40% of the nine million pounds. Typically, scam mail of this kind targets personally identifiable information or money.

Work For Charity email spam campaign

"Work For Charity" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "Can You Be Trusted ?" (may vary) introduces the supposed sender – a window suffering from cancer. The recipient's email address was in a guest book found in her late husband's archive.

The recipient is asked to assist the sender in lieu of her lawyer, who had recently passed away. The sender requests aid with discharging her will, as she has no heirs or other relatives. At least 60% of her will's 9,000,000 GBP (British pounds) is to be used for charity. The recipient will be able to keep the remaining 40% after aiding with this endeavor.

It must be emphasized that all the information provided in this email is fake. Spam mail of this kind usually either seeks sensitive data or funds.

Information of interest can include personally identifiable details (e.g., names, addresses, contact info, ID card or passport photos/scans, etc.) and finance-related data (e.g., online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.).

Scammers may also request money under the guise of taxes or fees. Difficult-to-trace methods are used for acquiring the funds, e.g., cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, or cash hidden in packages and shipped.

To summarize, victims of scam mail like "Work For Charity" can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have provided your log-in credentials – immediately change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. However, if you have disclosed personally identifiable or finance-related data – contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name "Work For Charity" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient is requested to aid with charity efforts in distributing £9,000,000; they may keep 40% of these funds.
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

"Voicemail Transcript", "You Have Shared Files On OneDrive", "Confirm Hotel Bank Account", "Rooming List For The Group", and "Operating System Was Compromised Under My Direction" are merely some examples of spam emails we have inspected recently.

This mail is used to promote various scams and to spread malware. These emails can be basic or elaborately disguised as messages from legitimate companies, organizations, institutions, service providers, and other entities.

Due to how widespread spam mail is and how well-made it can be – we strongly recommend caution with incoming emails, DMs/PMs, SMSes, and other messages.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns proliferate malware by distributing infectious files. They can be attached to or linked inside the emails/messages. Virulent files can be executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

When such a file is opened – the infection chain is jumpstarted. Some formats may require additional actions to begin malware download/installation chains. For example, Microsoft Office documents need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote files require them to click on embedded content (e.g., files, links, etc.).

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is essential to be careful with incoming emails and other messages. We advise against opening attachments or links found in suspect mail, as they can be infectious. We recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since they have the "Protected View" mode that prevents automatic macro execution.

However, malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being careful while browsing since fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and harmless.

Furthermore, all downloads must be performed from official and verified channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updates can contain malware.

We must emphasize the importance of having a dependable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security software must be used to run regular system scans and to remove detected threats/issues. 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 "Work For Charity" spam email letter:

Subject: Can You Be Trusted ?


Dear - ,


Greetings to you and your family. Please let this not sound strange to you because I am not asking you for money, my only surviving lawyer who would have done this, died mid of this year. I prayed and got your email address from your country's guest book which I got from my late husband's archive and I wish to visit once more if God will in his infinite mercies grant me In view of your good profile, I want to solicit your assistance in the discharge of my Will.


I am Mrs. Olivia Anderson, from London and am aged 68 years suffering from endometrial cancer. Please, I want you to help me create a charitable project with the money that I inherited from my deceased husband who died in a motor accident.

 

I was brought up from a motherless baby's home and was married to my late husband for twenty nine years without a child, my friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness and I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them anymore, so I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of £9,000,000 GBP (Nine Million Pounds) with my bank.


All I need is an honest person who will use at least 60% of the funds as I would instruct, then the rest 40% will go to you for helping me accomplish this mission because donating this money to charity is the only legacy I can leave behind after my death, No money is required from you to carry on with this project because it is my heart desire to make a generous gift to you to work for a charity in your country.


I don't mind if you are a Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist rather my only paramount concern here is whether I can trust you because this generation is filled up with greedy and fraudulent people all over the world. I will give you more details as soon as I hear from you.


Looking forward to your urgent response on my private email address below.
olivia.anderson122@zohomail.com
financeangloblack@outlook.com


Kind regards.
Mrs. Olivia Anderson.

Yet another example of an email from "Work For Charity" spam campaign:

Work For Charity email scam (2024-03-08)

Text presented within:

Subject: Calvary Christian Greetings

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am Mrs. Marianne Serowicka, from Orlando Florida in the USA), lived in Zimbabwe for 20 years and South Africa, a widow to the late Dr. Barry Serowicka . I am 66 years old and presently suffering from Leukemia, Please I need a foreign national to invest this funds with His/her

My health has gotten worse and just two weeks ago my doctor informed me that my condition has reached a critical stage, and that I have just 3 months left. This confirmation from my doctor was and still is devastating news; it is hard to know that you have just a little time left to live here.

My late husband was a contractor in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, he died in October 2020 due to COVID-19 and during the period of our marriage we could not bear any child. My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his businesses and wealth both in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Orlando Florida in the USA.

After the doctor's medical pronunciation that I have just a few months to live, I decided to divide my wealth to contribute to your country and Africa where my late husband as a contractor made lots of money. I want to assist you with the funds to do great charity work in your country, this is my last wish. I selected you after searching a few websites; I prayed and was led to you. I am willing to donate the sum of Ten Million, Two Hundred thousand United States Dollars (USD$15,200,000.00) to the less privileged through you.

Please I want to transfer this money to you as I am travelling to have my lawyer amend my WILL. If you can handle this fund and are very sure to do charity work on my behalf then I will include your name in my WILL when I meet with my Lawyer, and from there I will travel to Switzerland to meet a specialist as I want to be buried alongside my late husband when I pass on. Note that this fund is in the financial institution and upon my instruction; I will file an application through my family attorney for the transfer of the money into your account for the said purpose.

Lastly, I honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used for the said purpose even though I might be late then. I have come to find out that wealth is vanity and I made a promise to God that my wealth will be used to support the poor and to assist the sick. Do let me know if you will be able to handle this fund and use it for the said purpose so that I will inform my attorney and my bank on my decision. Kindly know that I need some information

FULL NAME.......HOME AND OFFICE ADDRESS.......

NATIONALITY.......OCCUPATION........

AGE.......RELIGION.......

PASSPORT COPY.......CONTACTS NUMBER.......

God bless you

Mrs. Marianne Serowicka

A Widow.
NOTE: All response to be Submitted to Email: mrsmarianneserowicka@writeme.com

Yet another example of an email from "Work For Charity" spam campaign:

Work For Charity email scam (2024-05-08)

Text presented within:

Subject: a cry for help


Dear Friend,

Greetings to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am Mrs.Frida Fridenstein,a widow to the late Sheik Fridenstein.
I am 61 years old. I am now a Christian convert suffering from longtime Lung & Bronchus cancer which has become almost impossible for me to move around. And from all indications my condition is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that I won`t live more than 3 months according to my medical doctors. This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage.
My late husband was killed during the US raid against terrorism in Afghanistan and during the period of our marriage, we could not produce any child.
My late husband was very wealthy, A gold merchant who owned a small Gold Mine. After his death,I inherited all his business and wealth.The deposited money was from the sale of the shares, death benefits payment, gold and entitlements of my deceased husband by his company.
The doctors have advised me that I may not live for more than 3 months, so I now decided to donate what I have to you for the support of the less privileged. I am willing to donate the sum of Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars for this charity work. I am searching for a God fearing and trustworthy person to handle this since I cannot do this all by myself again because of my illness.
I once donated a huge amount of money to my family members and relatives for charity works, they diverted the money to their private pockets and used it to build stripper`s night-clubs and this is totally against my godly wish and heavenly visions.

I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without Christ is vanity.

God bless you

Frida

Another example of an email from "Work For Charity" spam campaign:

Work For Charity email scam (2024-06-04)

Text presented within:

Subject: Almighty God be with you and your Family,


May the peace of the Almighty God be with you and your Family,

With Due Respect and Humility, I was compelled to write to you under humanitarian grounds. My donation to you in good faith. I have taken a personal decision to donate what I inherited from my late husband to the Charity, less privilege, I am 76 years old and I have been diagnosed with cancer since the past Three Years, immediately after the death of my husband. We were both married for many years without a child, I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money.

I have chosen you to inherit this fund and use it to help the poor around the world, CHRISTIAN OR MUSLIM, HINDUS, and other Religions. Donation fund (£5.1 Million GBP-British Pound) My name is Mother Sang-hee Eun Hughes. from South Korea / England dual citizen. I want to donate my inheritance from my late husband. If you are interested in helping me carry out my last wish, please reply to me for more details.

My late husband was The chairman/CEO of Kdash Technologies Inc & global industries and a philanthropist based in England. I have decided to donate a fund (Five Million and One Hundred Thousand GBP-British Pound) to you for this assignment, Charity, less privilege, building of schools, hospitals and also for the assistance of the poor widows, Motherless babies, Charity organization, CHRISTIAN, MUSLIM, HINDUS, and orphans. I don't know you in person but God knows you, so contacting you for this assignment is a directive from the holy spirit of God to donate this fund outside England through you as my late husband has already donated a lot in this country.

My present condition has really taught me that all the wealth in this world is VANITY upon VANITY, So you have to make sure that you use this donation as I have directed so that the name of the Almighty God will be glorified forever. Your urgent response is required in this matter due to my present critical condition of my health, because I am losing strength every minute of the day. All I need from you is prayers that God will accept my soul in case I didn't survive these surgeries. Also pray for the soul of my late Husband to rest in peace.

Please always be prayerful all through your life, we are visitors on this earth and we must be very careful in whatever we do so that our soul will not be a waste. I wish you all the best and may God bless you abundantly.

Remain blessed in God. Yours.

Mother Sang-hee Eun Hughes

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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. This mail is sent out in mass-scale campaigns – hence, thousands of users receive identical emails.

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

If you have provided your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support. And if you've disclosed other private information (e.g., ID card details, 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?

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened; merely reading an email poses no infection threat.

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

If the opened file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – as these formats cause infections almost without fail. However, document formats (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.) may need additional user interaction to trigger infection chains (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate all manner of threats. It is capable of removing nearly all known malware infections. Note that running a full system scan is paramount since sophisticated 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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