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‘Covid-19 Lottery Prize’ Advance Fee Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, you have been selected as a winner of the million-dollar Covid-19 relief lotto award.

Supposedly, you were chosen via a worldwide random balloting selection taken from AOL users.

The email advises you to send your personal details and Winning Number to your “fiduciary agent” for verification.

But, not at all surprisingly, the email is just another scam. Alas, you have not won a million dollars in a Covid-19 lottery.  You have won nothing whatsoever!

In fact, the email is just a typical advance fee lottery scam albeit with a coronavirus twist in its tale.

As with all such lottery scams, if you contact the “agent” in the hope of claiming your prize, you will be quickly told that you must first send money to cover various expenses supposedly associated with your “win”. The scammers will insist that these fees must be sent in advance and that you will not receive your prize money until all fees are paid.

If you fall for the ruse and send money, further requests for even more imaginary fees will likely follow.  Finally, when the scammers have extracted as much of your money as possible, they will disappear without a trace.  You will never retrieve any of the money you sent.  Nor, of course, will you ever get the promised prize, which never existed in the first place.

And the scammers may steal more than just your money.  During the course of the scam, they may have tricked you into sending a lot of your personal information – including ID documents – ostensibly to allow the processing and validation of your lotto claim. This information may be kept by the scammers or sold to other criminals and later used to steal your identity.
Advance fee scams like this are very common and have seen many forms. They have been around for many a long year and well predate the Internet.

You can read more about advance fee lottery scams here.

An example of the scam email:

Subject: Covid-19 lottery prize (Congratulations)We are pleased to inform you that you are among the selected winners of Covid-19 relief lotto awards $1,000,000.00 by emerging with American Online Lottery AOL 2020/2021 as an active users doing the random picking online as the Pandemic is sill going on.

No tickets where sold it was a random balloting selection worldwide. So you are advised to contact your Fiduciary agent with this information below along-side with your Winning Identification Number via E-mail for proper Verification lottery agent:

Full Names…
Your House Address…
Your Telephone Number…
Occupation …….
Your Winning Number: AOL009US/LINK-LAX1182/020


Importance Notice

After 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 You

I 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 Date

Hoax-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!

Brett Christensen,