How to identify fraudulent emails like "Fund Transaction"

Also Known As: Fund Transaction advance-fee scam
Damage level: Medium

What is "Fund Transaction"?

We have examined the email and determined that it is a scam email designed to trick recipients into believing they can receive a large sum of money. Typically, scammers behind such emails seek to extract money and (or) personal information from unsuspecting recipients. Such emails should be ignored.

Fund Transaction email spam campaign

More about the "Fund Transaction" scam email

The scam email claims to be from Mama Graca Machel Mandela. It says that a $60.5 million transfer proposal discussed in a previous email was concluded with someone else. The recipient is promised $250,000 as compensation for their previous involvement. The email instructs them to contact Mr. Simpiwe K. Tshabalala at Standard Bank of South Africa to claim the funds.

The sender claims to be out of South Africa for medical treatment and urges immediate contact to begin the process. This email falls into the category of advance-fee scams, where scammers aim to deceive recipients into contacting them and paying upfront fees or providing personal information.

Scammers behind such emails usually request personal information like full name, address, date of birth, banking details, ID card information, or other details. Falling for such emails may result in identity theft, monetary loss, and (or) other issues. Thus, individuals who receive suspicious emails like the one described in this article should be careful and not respond to scammers.

Threat Summary:
Name Fund Transaction Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim The recipient can receive a compensation of $250,000
Scam Phone Number +27835932648
Disguise Letter from Mama Graca Machel Mandela
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

In conclusion, emails promising large sums of money, especially from unfamiliar senders, are usually scams designed to trick recipients into providing personal information or making payments. In order to avoid falling for such fraudulent schemes, it is important to be careful, verify the legitimacy of any unexpected offers, and not share sensitive information online without analyzing emails, websites, or other platforms.

Some examples of similar scam emails are "Trustworthy Foreign Partner", "Donation To Selected Grant Recipients Email Scam", and "Seeking Partnership Investment Email Scam". It is worth noting that scam emails can contain links or files. Moreover, their contents can be used to trick users into infecting computers.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Emails designed to distribute malware include malicious links and attachments to deceive recipients into downloading malware on their devices. Malicious links in these emails can direct users to websites that automatically download malware or persuade them to download malicious files.

Attachments in these deceptive emails can infect devices through various methods. For example, malicious Microsoft Office documents may inject malware after users enable macro commands. Malicious executables can infect devices when opened. Other types of files used to distribute malware include archives (like ZIP and RAR), PDF documents, ISO files, and JavaScript files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Always use reliable sources (official web pages or app stores) when downloading software or files. Carefully examine unexpected emails from unknown addresses, especially when they contain links or files. Do not download pirated software, cracking tools, or unofficial key generators. Avoid interacting with ads, buttons, and pop-ups on dubious websites.

Do not allow suspicious web pages to send you notifications. Regularly update the operating system and installed software and scan your computer for threats. Use a reputable security solution for computer protection. 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 "Fund Transaction" email letter:


Beloved Friend,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition.   
You may not understand why this mail came to you. But if you do not remember me, you might have received an email from me in the past regarding the $60.5 Million transfer proposal which we never concluded. I am using this opportunity to inform you that the transfer has been concluded with another person who financed it to a logical conclusion.

I thank you for your great effort to put our unfinished transaction of funds into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you. But I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of the bank here in South Africa to my new partner's account in China that was capable of assisting me in this great venture.   

Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed during the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $250,000.(Two hundred and Fifty thousand United States dollars). I have left an international bank Cheque for you worth $250,000 .My dear friend, I want you to contact Mr. Simpiwe K. Tshabalala of the Standard bank of South Africa In Johannesburg, South Africa to let you receive your funds.

I have authorized him to release the fund  to you as soon as you contact him regarding this issue. At the moment, I am out of South Africa for my medical treatment. I do not know when I will be going back to South Africa because after my medical treatment I will be going to Istanbul, Turkey. Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Also comply with Mr. Simpiwe k. Tshabalala so that he will let you receive your money without any delay, contact him on the below e-mail address and call  him also on the telephone number below:
Name: Simpiwe Kenneth Tshabalala   
E-mail: standardbkbank@africamail.com   
Telephone: +27835932648   
Address: Johannesburg Standard bank South Africa.   
Do contact him immediately and receive your money urgently.   
Thank you for putting in effort to assist me and keeping things very confidential   
despite  not concluding the transfer with you. God bless you.    
Mama Graca Machel Mandela.

Another example of an email from "Fund Transaction" spam campaign:

Fund Transaction email scam (2024-07-10)

Text presented within:



Attn: Beneficiary,

We write to inform you that Series of meetings that was held with the Secretary General of United Nations,U.S Department of State and Africa Union Organization this ended last week.

During the meeting we discovered that you have not receive your funds due to past corrupt Government Officials who almost held the funds to themselves for their selfish reason, who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to defraud you, which has led to unnecessary delay in releasing the funds to you.

The as stated above has already passed a payment mandate to our bank, to clear all over due Contract funds, Lottery winnings and Inheritance/Investment funds owed to you and other individuals/organizations who have been found not to receive their long overdue payment.

A woman by name (MRS: CINDY MAY A CITIZEN OF USA) contact us with an application stating that you gave her the power of attorney to be the beneficiary of your Outstanding funds. She made us to believe that you are dead and that she is your next of kin. We decided to send you email through this address hoping to find out if what she said is true before we can take any action because of the sensitive nature of the transaction and the amount of money that is involved:

For the immediate release of the sum of $21.5M to you legally as the legal recipient if you are alive and did not authorize Cindy May, you are required to send YOUR FULL NAME, CURRENT ADDRESS, CELL PHONE AND FAX NUMBER if any for onward proceeding on how you are going to receive the said funds legally without any problem either now or in future. Treat as urgent.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr. Noel Quinn
HSBC Chief Executive Officer .

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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?

These emails are not personal. Scammers send identical emails to numerous email addresses at once. Their goal is to trick at least one recipient.

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

If you have sent account credentials like passwords and usernames to scammers, it is crucial to update all passwords immediately. If you have disclosed other personal information, such as credit card details or ID card information, contact the relevant authorities.

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

Whether your computer is infected depends on the type of malicious file you downloaded and opened. For example, executables can infect computers without further interaction. However, malicious MS Office documents usually require users to enable macros commands to infiltrate malware.

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

No, merely opening an email is safe. Computer infections can occur when recipients interact with malicious links or attachments within fraudulent emails.

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

Combo Cleaner has the capability to detect and remove nearly all known malware infections. However, sophisticated malware may be deeply hidden in the system, necessitating a full system scan for 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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