Spam trends of the week: Disney+ account phishing and more Turkey-themed charity scams target consumers


February 17, 2023

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Spam trends of the week: Disney+ account phishing and more Turkey-themed charity scams target consumers

Bitdefender Labs warns of fresh phishing and donation scams targeting consumers this week.

Our ultimate objective is to create awareness of spam trends, both new and existing, that threaten your wallet, privacy and overall digital safety.

French Disney+ account holders were on the radar of cybercrooks

This week, researchers at Bitdefender Antispam Lab uncovered a phishing campaign targeting Disney+ accounts of French customers.

The campaign was short-lived, operating until Feb. 15, with the scammers’ focused on stealing login credentials from unsuspecting users. Recipients of these phishing emails were required to access a link to renew their subscriptions. Those who access the bogus link and log in to the platform risk getting locked out of their Disney+ account as well as any other account that uses the same login credentials. The negative consequences could also extend to financial accounts, leaving victims prone to identity theft crimes, including fraud.

Criminals will go to great lengths to persuade you to hand over personal and financial information or login data.

Hijacked streaming service accounts are frequently peddled in underground marketplaces, selling for as little as $3. Within days of the Disney+ launch in November 2019, researchers found thousands of compromised accounts being sold on the dark web. Looted Disney+ accounts were not the result of a data breach at the company, but customers’ use of weak or recycled passwords.

If you are a Disney+ account holder, learn how to fend off scams that may leverage the name of the popular streaming service:

  • Know that no Disney+ employee will ever contact you and ask for your personal data, credit card number, bank account number or account password
  • You will never be asked to pay in crypto or gift cards to benefit from the service
  • The company will never ask customers to install remote access software to troubleshoot any issues with your account
  • Scrutinize all unsolicited correspondence prompting you to log in to solve any payment issues or reinstate your subscription. Don’t access any links within the email or text. Use your browser or mobile device to access the platform and check for messages directly.
  • Report any scams or phishing attempts to the company
  • Adopt security and privacy tools to help you block scam attempts and conduct proper password management while managing your digital identity and data breaches.

Cold-blooded fraudsters are still exploiting the humanitarian crisis in earthquake hit Turkey and Syria

Scammers continue trying to profit off the Turkey-Syria earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.

The latest email scams spotted by Bitdefender Antispam Lab show scammers have updated their tactics in their fraudulent attempts to raise money for survivors of the natural disaster.

Inboxes of recipients from across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia were bombarded with scam emails, originating primarily from the US, asking for donations in Bitcoin. In contrast to previously reported campaigns, these scammers include pictures of different QR codes to ease transactions or guide recipients to check via their browser how they can purchase or send Bitcoin.

The scammers also include various links to legitimate news outlets to legitimize their requests.

One of the crypto wallets we investigated has a recent balance of only $8.47 dollar (0.00035583 BTC) However, there have been over 49 transactions in the past two years, totaling over $4,623.

A second crypto address seems to have been recently created, with no active or past transactions within the Bitcoin blockchain.

We urge individuals to remain vigilant and not fall for unsolicited requests to donate to humanitarian causes linked to Turkey and Syria. Whether it’s via TikTok, email, or any other social media platform, these scammers ruthlessly thrive on human loss and sorrow. For anyone who wishes to lend a hand, please use official and legitimate channels to redirect your donations.

Stay safe everyone!




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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