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Fake Elon Musk million-dollar Christmas donations are crowding users’ inboxes in the US and Germany


December 22, 2022

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Fake Elon Musk million-dollar Christmas donations are crowding users’ inboxes in the US and Germany

Christmas is a stone’s throw away, and cybercrooks have begun spamming users’ inboxes in Germany and the US with phony giveaway raffles courtesy of the one and only Elon Musk.

According to Bitdefender Antispam Lab, the bogus emails target tens of thousands of users with two localized versions of an online giveaway scam worth millions.

The messages appear to be sent from “the richest man in the World at the moment” and the recent buyer of Twitter.

The US version of the scam email promises $500,000 to 20 individuals for Christmas. According to the phony correspondence, the online raffle began on “Fridaday” Dec. 16, and continues until Dec. 31.

All you need to do is buy a $100 Apple, iTunes or Steam gift card and send it to Elon Musk and his team so they can send you half a million dollars tomorrow.

“YOU WILL NEVER pay a dime again as agreed and signed here in Court,” the message reads.

“The US$500,000,00 is your merited Funds from ELON MUSK to you because your E-mail address was generated through the computer ballot system as one of the selected beneficiaries , You are required to buy only a U$100 Apple card - iTunes Card Steam Wallet Card for taxation .This is the ONLY charge you will EVER pay as the true beneficiary of this Elon M. Christmas bonanza,” the scammers meticulously explained.

Scammers put little effort into the German version of the scam. However, they did pump up the ‘winnings’ to over 4 million euros for 5 lucky individuals who need financial help or capital to invest in businesses.

Unlike in the US version, users are asked to send their personal information to a Gmail address. Most likely, gullible recipients who fall for the ruse will also end up losing money by paying bogus tax fees made up by the scammers.

We can’t stress enough the importance of remaining vigilant against email-based scams that leverage online giveaways in cash and gift cards. These social engineering tricks always say you’ve won something (whether it’s money, gadgets or gift cards) in a contest or online promotion, sweepstakes or lottery you never heard of or entered.

To protect your sensitive info and finances:

  • Always act cautiously with giveaway and prize offers you receive via unsolicited emails, pop-ups or instant messages. Celebrities and billionaires like Elon Musk will never contact you directly to give you millions of dollars
  • Don't respond to them or give out your password and credit card number, or purchase gift cards
  • Don't click on online ads or websites offering free gifts
  • Use a security solution on your devices that alerts you whenever you access a phishing link and sniffs out malicious attempts

Don’t get caught off guard by cybercrooks who want to ruin Christmas. Check out our all-in-one security solutions (Bitdefender Premium Security and Bitdefender Ultimate Security for the US only) to benefit from multi-layered ransomware protection, anti-phishing and anti-fraud mechanisms alongside a dedicated Password Manager and Premium VPN to get full protection on all of your household devices.

If you need help focusing on the digital you, use a digital identity protection solution that will let you discover the extent of your online footprint. If your personal information has been exposed in a data breach or leak, it will also help you prevent damage.

Stay Safe and Happy Holidays!




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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