Avoid getting scammed by fake "Treasures For Safekeeping" emails

Also Known As: "Treasures For Safekeeping" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Treasures For Safekeeping"?

After reading the "Treasures For Safekeeping" email, we determined that it is spam. This fake letter is supposedly from a Ukrainian citizen forced to flee from their home due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sender requests help dealing with their familial treasure, part of which the email recipient can keep.

This information is false, and it is not associated with any existing individuals. The purpose of this mail is to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information and/or sending money to scammers.

Treasures For Safekeeping email spam campaign

"Treasures For Safekeeping" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "ACKNOWLEDGE URGENTLY!!!" (may vary) claims to be from a Ukrainian citizen currently located in a refugee center in Hungary. The alleged sender has a proposal to the recipient.

This imaginary individual possesses 1,810.5927 oz of gold in familial treasure. The 113 lbs (51 kg) of gold were salvaged when the sender fled their home, but they need aid in relocating and safekeeping these valuables. If the recipient agrees to help, they will be able to keep some of the treasure.

It must be stressed that all the claims made by this email are false, and this mail is in no way associated with any real individuals.

Scam emails of this kind can operate in a variety of ways. Most commonly, they target data and/or funds. This spam may seek personally identifiable information, such as the recipient's name, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, marital status, occupation, home and work addresses, contact details, etc. These details can be used for incredibly nefarious purposes like identity theft.

Financial information, e.g., online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit/debit card numbers, and similar – could be sought as well. It could be used to make fraudulent transactions and online purchases.

Alternatively, scammers can deceive victims into sending money to them. For example, claiming that the payment has to be made for storage, shipping, banking transfers, fees, taxes, or similar reasons.

Difficult-to-trace methods are used to send the funds in order to lower the chances of the criminals getting prosecuted and victims getting their money back. Some of the prevalent methods involve cryptocurrencies, gift cards, pre-paid vouchers, and cash hidden in packages and shipped.

To summarize, by trusting an email like "Treasures For Safekeeping" – users can experience serious privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. However, if you've provided other private information to scammers (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, debit/credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Treasures For Safekeeping" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Sender seeks aid in safekeeping 1,810.5927 oz of gold; for their help, the recipient can keep part of the treasure.
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 investigated thousands of spam campaigns; "Error In Your IMAP/POP3 Mails Server", "Your System Has Been Cracked", "Wells Fargo - Account Verification Required", "Request To Cancel Your Services", and "Quotation Request" are just some of our newest articles on this mail.

Deceptive emails promote various scams, e.g., advance fee, investment, inheritance, lottery, refund, tech support, sextortion, etc. Furthermore, these letters are utilized in malware proliferation.

While spam emails are often poorly constructed and riddled with errors, they can be competently made and even believably disguised as messages from legitimate entities (e.g., companies, organizations, institutions, service providers, authorities, etc.).

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam emails can include infectious files as attachments or download links. These files come in various formats, e.g., documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Once a malicious file is opened – the infection chain is initiated. However, some formats need additional user interaction to jumpstart malware download/installation processes. For example, Microsoft Office files require users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents need them to click embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is essential to exercise caution with incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages. Attachments or links found in suspicious/irrelevant mail must not be opened, as they can be harmful or virulent.

However, malware is not proliferated only through spam mail. Therefore, we recommend vigilance while browsing, as fraudulent and dangerous online content typically appears legitimate and innocuous.

Additionally, all downloads must be performed from official and trustworthy channels. Another recommendation is to activate and update programs using genuine functions/tools, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updaters 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 "Treasures For Safekeeping" spam email letter:


Hello Friend

I hope this message finds you well.

My name is Mykola Novinsky, I'm a Ukrainian citizen , I'm currently in a refugee reception facility in Hungary due to the on going crisis in my country currently, I have an urgent proposal of great benefits I would like to discuss with you.

I am soliciting for help to enable me to relocate some of my family treasures box of golds worth over 1,810.5927 Gold Ounces of which I was able to salvage before fleeing my home. The current situation has left me with no choice but to find a trustworthy person who can help me receive my family treasures for safekeeping. I wouldn’t mind sharing the valuables with my helper if necessary just to ensure that I get help to move the treasures to a safer place.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Faithfully,
Mykola Novinsky

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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, regardless of any relevant details that they may include. Cyber criminals distribute this mail by the thousand with the hopes that at least some recipients will fall for their scams.

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 compromised accounts and inform their official support. And if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, credit card numbers, etc.) – contact relevant authorities without delay.

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?

Whether your device was infected might depend on the format of the opened file. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – an infection chain was initiated. However, you might have avoided this if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require extra actions (e.g., enabling macros, clicking embedded content, etc.) to start downloading/installing malware.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner is capable of detecting and eliminating most of the known malware infections. Note that high-end malicious programs typically hide deep within systems – therefore, running a complete system scan is paramount.

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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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