This email, which purports to be from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, claims that you have won £950,000, a laptop, and other prizes in a Google ‘Award Promotion’.
It instructs you to contact Google’s “online verification manager” to get more “informations” about your supposed win. A seemingly official Google document attached to the email contains further details about the win and explains that you will need to submit a Mandatory Foreign Payment Release Form before getting your cash and prizes.
But, in fact, Sundar Pichai did not send the email, and it has no connection to Google whatsoever. And, alas, you have not won any money or prizes.
The email is a typical advance fee lottery scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to online criminals.
If you submit your form as instructed, you will soon receive a reply claiming that you are required to send money to cover various expenses supposedly associated with the processing of your prize. But, any funds that you send will be kept by the scammers, who will disappear after they have taken as much of your money as they can.
You may also become a victim of identity theft since the scammers will likely demand that you send them a large amount of your personal and financial information.
And, of course, you will never receive the promised money and prizes, which never existed to begin with.
Advance fee scams like this are very common and take many forms.
An example of the scam email:
Subject: AWARD PROMOTION BY GOOGLE!!!
Dear Google User,
You have been rewarded by Google Inc, kindly get in contact with our Online verification manager for more informations.
Chief Executive Officer,
A screenshot of the attached scam document:
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!