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: