According to an email from the Director of the Google Foundation, you’ve been selected as a major customer this year and can thus obtain a grant. The email, which is addressed to “Dearest Esteemed User”, suggests that you kindly view an attached PDF for details about your grant.
The PDF claims that Google ran an email beta test and your email address was chosen as the winner of £864,000. The document instructs you to contact the Google Foundation Board at once with your personal details to begin the processing of the grant.
But, alas, the email is fraudulent. The Google Foundation is the charitable arm of Google, but it did not send the email and you have not been selected to receive a grant. There is no grant.
In fact, the email is an advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to online criminals.
If you contact the “board” as instructed, you will be told that you must send money to cover various processing fees before the grant can be sent to you. The scammers will claim that the fees must be paid upfront and cannot be taken out of the grant money for legal reasons. And, they will warn that if you don’t pay the requested fees quickly, you will forfeit your prize and the grant will be given to somebody else.
The criminals will demand that you send more and more money until you run out of funds or at least realise that you are being conned. Then, the crooks will disappear with your money and you won’t hear from them again. And, of course, you will never receive the promised grant, which never existed in the first place.
To make matters worse, the criminals may have collected enough of your personal and financial information to steal your identity as well.
Advance fee scams like this are very common and have been stealing money and personal information from people for decades. The scam messages take many forms. Do not trust any message that claims that you have won a large sum of money via a lottery, promotion, or grant scheme that you have never even entered or applied for. Real organisations do not award large cash prizes or grants by randomly selecting a name or email address they found online. Any message that makes such a claim is certain to be a scam.
A transcript of the email:
Dearest Esteemed User,
In this month of April Google Foundation wishes to commend you for being selected as a major customer, for further information on how to obtain your grant, kindly view the attached file for more details.
Director Google Foundation
If this Notification Email Letter hits your Junk/Spam folder, simply move the email from your Spam/Junk folder to your inbox for better viewing and easy accessibility.
Screenshots of the PDF attachment:
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!