Won a £950,000 Google anniversary prize? Spoilers: It's a scam!

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.

Google letter

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.

Sincerely.
Larry Page
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.

Google email 1

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.

Google email 2

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.

Yoinks.

I guess I should do what they say. I don't want to upset Larry.

Google email 3

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.
[/spoiler]

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41 Responses

  1. coyote

    December 1, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

    If she truly worked for Google her address would be @google.com. Whether many would know this or not it is still easily enough discovered (if not blinded by greed). There are many other red flags, of course, but that one is amusing – if it doesn't ensnare anyone, that is.

    Perhaps the biggest red flag however, is that you didn't enter a contest and suddenly you won 'a contest'. Clones aren't automatically as old as the person/thing being cloned so it certainly wasn't a clone but even if it was a clone it wouldn't have the same email/passwords/etc. so it wouldn't be true either.

  2. John c

    December 1, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    Oh wait I never got my millions from that nigerian either

  3. Roger T. IMAI

    December 4, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    Congratulations? Or, eh… So then I guess you'll have to keep on being a security pro. BTW, I voted GCHQ best security newsletter — I haven't consented to donate a kidney, have I?

  4. theresa

    April 15, 2016 at 2:45 am #

    It's March 2016 and I got the same letter.

  5. samsuri

    April 28, 2016 at 3:04 am #

    got same email from Larry Page and yes I reply to them just for fun… Larry Page email absolutely scammer.

    • evans orenge in reply to samsuri.

      May 9, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

      I actually got same letter from Mrs.charlene Richards on 9th May,2016.its looks like a scam?

      • john in reply to evans orenge.

        September 27, 2016 at 10:40 am #

        has she ever come back to you…? I received an email from her too……

  6. Craig

    May 24, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

    I have also recieved the same email saying i won GPD950k. I could of used that cash . Dam Scammers.o_O

  7. Hinzano karisa

    June 28, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    I received a similar mail having worn 500000 pounds, I somehow replied with some false information, now they claim to have my price which is ready for shipment and now they require a fee for the shipment totaling to 500 us dollars.

  8. Zulfekharullakhan

    July 7, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    I received letter from google corporation refno:GFSP/7748/782/2016
    Batch:FFSP/955 GPWIN/UK(official notification letter)winning 950.000.00 British pounds so please confirm me ,whether its true or fake please make make conform .because their are asking detail my personal please help me this regards
    Thanks

    • Graham Cluley in reply to Zulfekharullakhan.

      July 7, 2016 at 11:06 am #

      Good that you checked.

      It is, of course, a scam.

      Google is not in the habit of mailing people out of the blue and offering them almost a million quid.

      Google is a business. It's primarily in the business of selling advertising. It doesn't need to run a lottery.

    • Syed Zahir A. Gillani in reply to Zulfekharullakhan.

      May 8, 2017 at 8:30 am #

      I recieved the same emai. copy of mail is mentioned as below.

      Ref No: GAAP/6168/657/2017
      Batch: GAAP/690/GAPRO/UK
      OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION LETTER
      We wish to congratulate you over your success in the official publication of results of the E-mail electronic
      online sweepstake organized by Google Inc., in conjunction with Visa®/MasterCard® International and
      confirmed by our co-sponsors the Foundation for the Promotion of Software Products (F.P.S.P). Over the
      years Google earns its’ profit mainly from advertising using their very own Google search engine, Gmail,
      Gala, Sify e-mail services, Google Maps, Google Apps, Orkut social networking and You Tube video sharing,
      which are all offered to the public for free.
      Due to your active use of Google services, you have been selected as one of the Ten (10) winners in the ongoing Email Electronic Online Sweepstakes. Hence we believe with your prize, you will continue to be active in your
      patronage to Google and its Products, we wish to inform you that you are entitled to £950,000.00 GBP {Nine
      Hundred and Fifty Thousand British Pounds}. A Bank Draft will be issued in your name by our Foreign Payment
      Bureau and also a Certificate of prize claim will be processed alongside your Bank Draft. All Payments
      will be made to you through our accredited paying bank (ELECTRONIC SWIFT TRANSFER) to your bank
      account in your country without you coming down to United Kingdom.
      Your prize will be transferred to you upon meeting the requirements of the British Lottery Commission
      which includes your statutory obligations. You are advised to contact our Foreign Payment Bureau with the
      details below:
      PAYMENT CLAIMS FORM
      1. Your Full Names:
      2. Your Contact Address:
      3. Your Country/Nationality:
      4. Your Telephone/Mobile Number(s):
      5. Occupation:
      6. Age/Gender:
      7. Private Email Address (OPTIONAL):
      8. Ever Won An Online Lottery?
      Google values your right to privacy! Your information is 100% secured and will be used exclusively for
      the purpose of this award only.
      Send all response via email to our Foreign Payment Bureau officer below:
      …………………………………………………………………………………………………
      Name: Sergey Brin.
      President of Google's parent company
      Email: Sergey.Brin-gprouk@mail.com
      …………………………………………………………………………………………………
      NOTE!!! For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims are
      processed and your winning prize remitted to you through our accredited paying bank. This is part of our
      precautionary measure to avoid double claims and unwarranted abuse of this program please be WARNED!!!!
      Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of Google Anniversary Award Team.
      Larry Page,
      CEO/CO-FOUNDER,
      GOOGLE INC

  9. bibi yvonne

    July 14, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    i also received this kind of email in 12 july, they write can using bank draft to me without go to uk

  10. Rose

    August 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    I received this same email today and smelt a rat straight away. A few mths ago,i had my bank Acc hacked into,they stole $22,000. I'm still waiting to get all my money back from the bank and they're taking their time doing it.

  11. T-Rusinova

    August 16, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    I received similar today.Happily my email server has put it in the spam folder.
    See what email came to me

    Google Inc™
    Belgrave House
    76 Buckingham Palace Road
    London SW1W 9TQ,
    United Kingdom.

    Winning No: GUK/877/798/2016
    Ticket No: GUK/699/33/2016

    GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION

    We wish to congratulate you on this note, for being part of our selected winners in our just concluded internal promotion draw this year, this promotion was set-up to encourage the active users of the Google search engine and the Google ancillary services.

    Hence we do believe with your winning prize, you will continue to be an active patronage to the Google search engine and services. Google is now the biggest search engine worldwide and in an effort to make sure that it remains the most widely used search engine, we ran an online e-mail beta draw which your email address won Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds Sterling (Ј950,000.00). We wish to formally announce to you that you have successfully passed the requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report Test conducted for all online winners.

    A winning check will be issued in your name by Google Promotion Award; for the sum of Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds Sterling (Ј950,000.00) and also a certificate of prize claims will be sent alongside your winning check cashable at any bank.

    You are advised to contact the assigned Google Program Administrator/Coordinator with the following details to avoid unnecessary delay and complications:

    VERIFICATION AND FUNDS RELEASE FORM

    (1) Your Contact Address/Private Email Address
    (2) Your Tel/Fax Numbers
    (3) Your Nationality/Country
    (4) Your Full Name
    (5) Occupation/Company
    (6) Age/Gender
    (7) Ever Won An Online Lottery?
    (8) Comments About Google

    Jeffrey Dean – Google Senior Fellow (Program Administrator/Coordinator)
    Email: g.anniversary@yandex.com OR g.anniversary101@yandex.com
    Tel: +44 (0) 203-389-8445

    Google values your right to privacy! Your information is 100% secured and will be used exclusively for the purpose of this award only.

    The Google Promotion Award Team has discovered a huge number of double claims due to winners informing close friends relatives and third parties about their winning and also sharing their pin numbers. As a result of this, these friends try to claim the lottery on behalf of the real winners. The Google Promotion Award Team has reached a decision from its headquarters that any double claim discovered by the Lottery Board will result to the canceling of that particular winning, leading to a loss for both the double claimer and the real winner, as it is taken that the real winner was the informer to the double claimer about the lottery. So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your winnings strictly confidential until you claim your prize.

    Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of the Google interactive Lotteries Board Commission.

    Yours faithfully,

    Lawrence "Larry" Page
    Co-founder and CEO of Google Inc™

    • Keith Boyle in reply to T-Rusinova.

      March 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

      Got the same letter with the same numbers only 2017 on the end. Was looking to retire!!

  12. Onefastmf9

    September 11, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    Wow WTF now I really feel like I'm not the only one being played a kid when your parents used to say yes your getting the toy if you were good and next thing you know it was nothing but a scam. Crap

  13. Onefastmf9

    September 11, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    But I'm glad I looked it up and found this site to find out I was not the only one sometimes other real honest hard working people can really help each other from hackers

    • Igor Voljc in reply to Onefastmf9.

      September 24, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

      I was received one from Google UK LTD and It was a spam. A few days later I was received official notifficaton letter again. It was sent from "Google UK Ltd " and I had won 950.000,00 Great British Pounds Sterling.
      I didn t answered.

      Google FSP payment unit
      Foreign Payment Bureau Officer
      Mr Andrea Georgetown
      email:georgetown@gfsp-bureau.com
      fax:+44-845-874-2294

      I was checked phone +44 and it was from Guernsey (*44) – which is a jurisdiction within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependency

      Kindly regards,

      Igor

  14. john

    September 27, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    I've received such an email that I've won 500'000 pounds………

  15. Oil

    November 7, 2016 at 8:35 am #

    I have also received the same scam email saying I won 950.000.00 British pounds signed Larry Page from Google UK Ltd podmogilnaiaav@imperialua.com on 05th November, 2016. Reply-to address: Elizabeth Peters e-peters@gfsp-unit.com.

  16. ayie

    December 13, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    i get a letter for this winning notification letter.. i hate this scam

  17. Anna

    December 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    I received the mail that I have won £950 000.00 and should keep the information confidential. Then send my personal details to Mr Jones Bradley. I immediately smelled a rat there until finally when I came across this conversation. Let's be careful og scams.

    • Wilkister kerebi nyanumba in reply to Anna.

      January 3, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

      Just received the same email that I have won £500000. I m glad that I exercised due diligence and was able to read all your sentiments. I was actually looking in the Google portal or site to get to understand what win this was, because surely something had to be documented about this random awards, Google is smart…so anyway it is a shameless scam

  18. Pete

    January 21, 2017 at 11:22 pm #

    I just got one of these today. Kathy Oleary. Google pdf doc. I have not opened it.

  19. Howard Davis

    January 22, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    I received the same email telling me I had won £750.000 was asked to fill in my details. Didn't ask for bank details tho so how do the scammers profit. Do they sell in your details or do they send another email asking for money to release your "Winnings"

    • abgsani in reply to Howard Davis.

      January 24, 2017 at 5:22 am #

      Agree with Graham Cluley's comments. If a person own or work with a company, why must you use others' email. Sundar Pichai work with Google and email should or must look like this : SundarPichai@google.com. Never give your personal info especially your Bank account number. You might lose your money in your account in a second. Beware of the scam…

  20. Ian Dickinson

    March 28, 2017 at 11:05 pm #

    Yeh we got this to, very obvious scam. These scammers are completely shameless. Cannot this sort of thing be stopped?

  21. Shiela

    March 29, 2017 at 6:20 am #

    OMG! I thought it's legit! I sent my infos to them even attached my id's. What have i done? :(

    • matthew in reply to Shiela.

      April 18, 2017 at 1:41 am #

      you're an idiot.

  22. dr.zatan

    April 22, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Its 2017.04.21 and the damn email is still cycling

  23. JENNSIS

    May 7, 2017 at 2:12 am #

    i GOT THE EMAIL LETTER HEAD FORM GOOGLE REWARDS SAY I AM THE WINNER GBP950,000.00….. I ALREADY GIVE MY REAL NAME ETC… NOW I NEED TO TRANSFER THE COURT NON APPEARANCE FEE OF GBP400 TO SOMBODY NAME IN MALAYSIA. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?

  24. Muhamamd Ejaz

    May 8, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    Today i receive the same email with prize of 950000. its fake

  25. Atir Bin Fasahat

    July 11, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    Today i received same email with prize of 950000

  26. Elise

    July 16, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    This is an on going scam.
    Have any of you received a parcel and have opened
    it? The Tcs Express LOGISTICS have a part in this.
    Of course any one with bad intensions can get to your account when they have all details of your ID
    and bank ID.
    Please do be aware.

  27. hajir

    October 2, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    thank god I find this page .
    Today I receive same email .

  28. mosu

    October 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    got this message two times from different senders (one came from Brazil, the other onde from Sweden. Seems to be another flurry of this scam

  29. Reuben

    November 4, 2017 at 5:41 am #

    I also received the scam email that I won GBP500,000,00.

  30. VISHAL TYAGI

    November 9, 2017 at 4:12 am #

    yes i also recieve same email and same date 4 nov. 2017

  31. conrad

    November 17, 2017 at 11:15 pm #

    Yes i also recieve a same email same date today nov.4,2017 i recieve a scam email that id won a 950,000 euro british pounds.Shame on u scammers.ge want to get some of my info about me.&he said ill call him via a phone call.&tell him my full details about me.he wants to get all my address & my email.damn!it thats idiot thing.am i dumb im not ohhh!HOHOHO.ADVANCE MERRY XMAS TO EVERYONE GOOGLE!

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