Avoid getting scammed by fake "Authorization To Claim Funds" emails

Also Known As: "Authorization To Claim Funds" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Authorization To Claim Funds"?

After reading the "Authorization To Claim Funds" email, we determined that it is spam. Recipients of this letter are queried whether the request to transfer their funds is legitimate.

It must be stressed that this email is fake and not associated with any legitimate entities. The spam campaign likely seeks to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information or sending money to scammers.

Authorization To Claim Funds email spam campaign

"Authorization To Claim Funds" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "ABOUT YOUR PAYMENT" (may vary) addresses the recipient as a "beneficiary" and is supposedly sent by a former "U.S.A Ambassador to Nigeria". The recipient's authorization is needed to confirm the transfer of their funds to the named applicant.

An application has been received indicating that seven million USD of the recipient's funds require transferral due to their terminal illness.

If the recipient is gravely ill and has requested the fund discharge to the named individual, it will be handled as quickly as possible. However, certain discrepancies suggest the application may be fraudulent – in which case, the recipient will be aided in ensuring the safety of their funds.

It must emphasized that all the information in this email is false, and this mail is not associated with any former/current embassy employees or legitimate entities.

Spam campaigns of this ilk can have a variety of nefarious goals. Victims may be deceived into disclosing vulnerable data to scammers, such as personally identifiable information (e.g., name, age, gender, occupation, marital status, home and work address, contact details, etc.) and finance-related data (e.g., online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit/debit card numbers, etc.).

Cyber criminals may then use the information to steal the victim's identity, carry out fraudulent transactions, make unauthorized online purchases, and so on.

Alternatively, victims can be tricked into sending funds to scammers under the guise of handling taxes, paying transaction/processing fees, etc. Because scammers choose difficult-to-trace methods to obtain the money (e.g., cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped, gift cards, etc.), they lower the chances of successful prosecution and prevent victims from retrieving their funds.

To summarize, by trusting an email like "Authorization To Claim Funds" – users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have provided your log-in credentials to cyber criminals – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've disclosed personally identifiable or finance-related information – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Authorization To Claim Funds" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient is informed of an application to transfer their 7 million USD funds, and they are requested to verify whether it is legitimate.
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

Spam campaigns are used to promote various scams, including (but not limited to) phishing, advance fee, inheritance, lottery, refund, sextortion, tech support, and so forth. Additionally, deceptive emails are utilized in malware distribution.

While the widespread belief that spam letters are poorly constructed and full of grammatical/spelling errors is not untrue, it is not always the case. These emails can be competently crafted and even disguised as messages from genuine entities (e.g., governmental bodies, authorities, service providers, organizations, companies, etc.).

We have investigated countless spam campaigns; "Crypto.com email scam", "Sigrid Trust Rim Foundation", "A Team Member Shared An Item", "Department Of Treasury - Compensation Funds", "Redundancies Across The Organization", "You Are One Of A Kind", and "Conflict With Your Company Name Or Trademark" are just some of our newest articles.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cyber criminals commonly use spam campaigns to spread malware. These emails/messages can have infectious files attached to or linked inside them. These files can be documents (PDF, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (ZIP, RAR, etc.), JavaScript, and so forth.

Merely opening a malicious file can be enough to trigger the system infection chain. Some formats require additional user interaction to start downloading/installing malware. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded links/files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

It is important to always approach incoming emails and other messages with caution. Attachments or links found in suspect mail must not be opened, as they can be harmful or virulent.

However, malware is not proliferated exclusively through spam mail. Therefore, we advise caution while browsing since fake and malicious online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.

Furthermore, all downloads must be made from official and verified sources. Another recommendation is to activate and update software using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

We must stress the importance of having a reputable anti-virus installed and kept updated. Security programs must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats and 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 "Authorization To Claim Funds" spam email letter:


Attn; Fund Beneficiary

I am Mrs Robin Sanders, Former U.S.A Ambassador to Nigeria. With reference to your entitlement fund and inline with the CHANGE OF BENEFICARY'S APPLICATION, signed by Mrs. Glenda F. Ward with your purported authorization. This case has been carefully examined and we have declined Mrs. Ward's application and reported to the security department for appropriate action, as the application lacks regular signature. But Did you ever instruct Mrs Glenda F. Ward to claim your fund worth US$7.000.000? Below is the bank account information provided by Mrs Glenda F. Ward saying that you authorized her to claim your fund that you are terminally ill.

BANK NAME: Bank Of America
BANK ADDRESS: 20920 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, Ca 90024 USA
ACCOUNT #: 7054510036
ROUTING #: 842000247
Swift Code: BOFBIUS6S
Account Name: Glender F Ward
Beneficiary address: 2902 N Beverly Glen Blvd Los Angeles, Ca 90077 USA


If you had not authorized the change of your bank account in respect to your outstanding entitlement Payment, therefore notify me immediately as the notification / declaration was supported with a sworn affidavit from Lagos high court ref: ilk /jj/202/k2021, dated 22/06/2024 and signed by Mrs. Glenda Ward who claim and stated in the sworn declaration that you authorized her to claim the said fund on your behalf to a different bank account in the U.S.A as stated above because you were terminally ill and the Doctor who is incharge of your case stated that you will not stay more than one Month before passing away.

This development has caused lots of discrepancies in your payment file that is why we had to suspend your payment and prompted to contact you directly before rejuvenating your payment. You have to be rest assured that I will do everything within my capacity to successfully actualize the quick transfer of your fund to any of your nominated bank account.

Kindly get back to me as soon as possible so that I will direct you on what to do.

Sincerely Yours
Dr.Mrs Robin Sanders
Fmr. U.S Ambassador

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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 these messages 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 disclosed your account credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support. However, if you have provided information of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit/debit card numbers, etc.) – contact the appropriate authorities without delay.

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

No, reading an email is harmless. Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked.

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

Whether an infection occurred might depend on the format of the opened file. The system was likely compromised if the file was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.). However, you might have avoided the infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, etc.). These formats may require additional actions to jumpstart malware download/installation processes (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded links/files, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove almost all known malware infections. It must be mentioned that sophisticated malicious programs usually hide deep within systems – hence, performing a complete system scan is paramount for detection.

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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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