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Google 10th Anniversary Awards Lottery Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, the “lucky” recipient has won 500,000.00 GBP in an award organized by Google as part of its tenth-anniversary celebrations.

According to the message, Google selected email addresses at random via a “computer ballot system” as a means of choosing 20 winners of 500,000 pounds each. In order to collect their prize, “winners” are instructed to send their “complete personal information” to one “Dr. Cibor Jeronim” who claims the title of “Director of Operations”.

However, the message was not sent by Google and the entirely imaginary prize money is simply the bait used by Internet criminals as a means of reeling in potential victims. Those who comply and send their information to “Dr. Jeronim”, will soon be asked to pay upfront fees, ostensibly as a prerequisite for receiving the award money. Victims will be told that these advance payments are required for insurance, bank, or legal fees or other excuses invented by the criminals behind the scam messages.

The scammers will insist that no prize money will be released until all requested fees are paid. In this manner, they are able to fool victims into parting with quite substantial sums of money over a period of weeks or even months. Sadly, because of the global nature of such crimes, victims are quite unlikely to get any of their money back. And, of course, they will never receive the supposed award money, which simply does not exist.

Moreover, victims also risk having their identities stolen. At the outset, victims are asked to supply quite a lot of personal information. During the course of the scam, the criminals may trick victims into revealing even more sensitive personal and financial information to add to that gathered in the initial email reply.

Internet criminals often use the names and logos of real companies such as Google in their scam messages as a means of adding credibility to their stories. Naturally, they do so without the permission of the companies that they have chosen to use. Also, the scammers often weave their cover stories around real events such as, in this case, Google’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

Web users should be very cautious of any message that claims that they have won a large sum of money in a “lottery” or “award” that they have never even entered. Genuine lotteries or prize draws do not operate in this manner. It is highly improbable that companies such as Google would ever participate in a prize scheme based on the random selection of email addresses.

Any message that claims that you have won a large prize based on the random selection of your email address is quite likely to be a scam. Scam messages can often be identified by poor spelling and grammar and telltale anomalies in the cover stories or contact details provided. For instance, in this example, the supposed Director of Operations for Google uses a free email address supplied by rival company Microsoft.
It is of course, vastly improbable that a high ranking Google employee would use a free Hotmail address for any official correspondence. Keeping an eye out for such details can help to quickly identify suspect emails.

Example

Subject: Google 10th Anniversary Awards winner

Google 10th Anniversary Awards Centre
London W1U 4RY, United Kingdom.
Tel: [Removed]
Fax: [Removed]

We are pleased to inform you that your email address has won an Award in the Google 10 Years Anniversary Awards as organized by Google Inc., held on Dec. 27th, 2008 in London, United Kingdom. Google Inc. randomly selected 20 email addresses through a computer ballot system to receive an award of Five Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds (500,000.00 GBP) each as a part of their for-profit philanthropic wing (GOOGLE.ORG)

promotion. Awards MUST be claimed by the email owner ONLY, not later than 3 weeks from the day of notification. Award Reference code: GOOGLE568A2008
File number: G245 Send your complete personal information with your Award Ref. and File no. to us to enable us process your claim;

1. Full name:
2. Country:
3. Contact Address:
4. Telephone/Fax no.
5. Marital Status:
6. Occupation:
7. Sex:
8. Age:
9. Email: Director of Operations: Dr. Cibor Jeronim
E-Mail: googlewinwin@hotmail.com
Please do not reply if you are NOT the owner of this email address Congratulations!! Sincerely Yours, Google Management

—————————————————————————————————————————

After 10 years of establishment, Google Inc is worth over 23 Billion US Dollars with over 20,000 workers worldwide making it the best and most successful online search engine in the world.



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,
Hoax-Slayer