How to avoid falling for scams like "Donation To Selected Grant Recipients"

Also Known As: Donation To Selected Grant Recipients advance-fee scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Donation To Selected Grant Recipients"?

We have examined this email and found that it is a scam commonly known as an advance-fee scam. Scammers behind such schemes usually aim to trick unsuspecting individuals into transferring money or providing sensitive information. Either way, scam emails should be ignored.

Donation To Selected Grant Recipients email spam campaign

More about the "Donation To Selected Grant Recipients" scam email

This scam email claims to be from a director of the "Scott M Foundation" and states that the recipient has been randomly selected to receive one million dollars from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It also contains fake information such as grand award number, batch number, reference number, and serial number.

Scammers behind such emails typically requests personal information or payment to claim the supposed grant, but in reality, there is no grant, and the scammer aims to steal money or sensitive information from the recipient. In most cases, scammers aim to extract details like login credentials, credit card details, social security numbers, ID card information, etc.

When they try to trick recipients into sending them money, they often claim that recipients must pay some fees to receive money (or other benefits). These fees are typically framed as covering administrative costs, processing fees, taxes, or legal expenses. Victims who fall for such scams suffer financial loss or other issues like identity theft and loss of access to online accounts.

Threat Summary:
Name Donation To Selected Grant Recipients Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient has been selected to receive $1,000,000.00
Disguise Letter from the director of Scott M Foundation
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

Usually, advance-fee scams use quick financial gain or other enticing opportunities as a lure. They require an upfront fee or personal information to claim the supposed benefit. However, people who send money or provide information never receive anything. To avoid falling victim to such scams, it is essential to be skeptical of unsolicited emails, especially when received from unknown addresses.

Examples of similar scams are "Seeking Partnership Investment Email Scam", "EUROJACKPOT Email Scam", and "You Were Scammed A Huge Sum Of Money". It is important to be aware that emails can be used to trick recipients into infecting their computers.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Emails sent by cybercriminals who aim to deliver malware can contain malicious attachments or links. Files attached to such emails can infect computers immediately after opening them or after taking additional steps (depending on the file type). Usually, emails used to deliver malware contain malicious MS Office documents or PDFs, archives, executables, or script files.

When users open malicious links in emails sent to trick them into infecting computers, they may land on pages designed to trick them into downloading malicious files or programs or sites crafted to download malware automatically (without user interaction).

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercise caution when downloading software or files from the internet, ensuring they are obtained from reputable sources (official pages or app stores) and avoiding suspicious websites, peer-to-peer networks, pirated software, cracking tools, etc. Keep your operating system, software, and antivirus programs up to date.

Be careful with unexpected emails or messages containing links or files. Do not trust advertisements, pop-ups, and similar content on shady sites. Additionally, use a reliable security program and regularly scan your computer for malware and other threats. 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 To Selected Grant Recipients" email letter:

Subject: Grant Payment

Dear Lithuanian Grant Recipient,

Grant Award Number:SCT/M/F/232/2024
Batch Number : US/ST/20/2024
Reference Number: STM/44/2/2024
Serial Number :89/363/SCTM/2024

Billionaire Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Is Donating $640 Million To Selected Grant Recipients. View Website for confirmation of Grant:


The Donations mark the first time Scott has openly Granted Recipient through Online Medium (Google/Gmail,Apple,Samsung,HP and More),You have been randomly selected to receive $ 1,000,000.00 USD, Reply for claims Directives.

Erling Kenneth
(Director, Scott M Foundation)

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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?

Scammers send a large number of identical (or very similar) emails to all recipients to increase their chances of finding victims who will respond to their fraudulent offers. Simply put, these emails are not personal.

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

If you have shared usernames and passwords (or similar details), change all passwords right away to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. If you have disclosed other personal information, such as credit card details or ID card information, contact the relevant authorities immediately.

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

The risk of infection depends on the type of file you open. For example, simply opening a document file might not be enough for malware to be executed. However, opening an executable file is likely to inject malware right away.

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

Emails themselves are harmless. The real danger comes from clicking on malicious links or opening attachments within them.

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

While advanced malware might try to hide, comprehensive security tools like Combo Cleaner can effectively detect and eliminate them. Running a full system scan significantly increases chances of successful removal.

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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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