I received an email from Larry Page.
You must have heard of Larry. He’s one of the two chaps who founded a little advertising company called Google.
Here is what the email says:
Dear Google User,
This is to officially inform you that you have been selected as a winner for using Google services, attached is our official notification letter for your perusal.
CEO & Co-founder of Google
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Attached to the email is a PDF file.
Now, I know that you have to be wary about PDF files, as sometimes they can contain malicious code. This one, however, appears to be legitimate.
Well, until you read what it has to say, of course.
In short, the email says that I have been chosen as the winner of a £950,000 prize. According to the email, Google believes that I will “continue to be active and patronize the Google search engine”. Damn right I will be if they are going to offer me almost a million quid!
All I have to do is get in touch with Patricia Harman, the Google Payment Coordinator, who is so loyal to the brand that she uses a Gmail address.
Google does require me to share some personal information first though… name, address, phone numbers, age, marital status, how I feel about winning the lottery, and so on…
They also want to know whether I’m going to go down to Google’s office to pick up the cash, or would like the loot couriered to my address.
This is all sounding marvellous so far. My web hosting bills will be paid for until the 25th century!
The email does warn, however, that I need to keep my good news entirely confidential. Whoops.
Apparently, in the past winners have told their relatives and close friends about their big win from Google, and has resulted in a huge number of scurrilous double claims! As a consequence, the “Google Promotion Award Team” has decided to be cancel any award - both for the legitimate winner and for anyone making a double claim.
So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your winnings strictly confidential until you claim your prize.
I guess I should do what they say. I don’t want to upset Larry.
Please promise to delete this blog post from your cache and forget that you ever read it. And don’t any of you dare claim the £950,000 from Google before me, ok?[spoiler title=“Want to know more? Click here to see spoilers”] It’s a scam.
If you ever receive a message like this, don’t believe it and definitely don’t respond.
The scammers will try to trick you into believing that you have won a large cash prize, and will do everything they can to warn you not to speak to anyone about it.
Don’t forget there are vulnerable people out there who could all too easily believe a message like this, and could end up financially harmed by fraudsters.
Meanwhile, it’s amusing to see that at least some scammers are failing to keep up with the news - and are making their attempts to defraud internet a users that little bit less convincing. For instance, Sundar Pichai became Google’s CEO in October, and the company isn’t using that logo anymore.