In December 2013, 64-year-old Canadian Tom Crist amazed the world when he announced that he was giving the $40 million (€29 million) he won in a lottery to cancer research. His nice gesture is now being exploited by scammers.
According to Hoax Slayer, cybercrooks have started sending out emails entitled “Charity Donation Funds.”
“Tom Crist, the Canadian man that won a $40 million Canadian dollar lottery prize is writing to inform you that Google in alliance with Facebook have submitted your Email-Address to receive $1,200,000.00 USD from me, as I have decided to give all my winnings away to charity, individuals and organisations,” the emails read.
Recipients are asked to respond to the emails and provide their names, age, phone number, address and country.
Mr. Crist might be donating his winnings, but not to random people on the Internet. The emails are part of an advance fee scam in which the fraudsters ask victims to pay various amounts of money that are allegedly needed to complete the transfer of the prize money.
In addition to money, the scammers can also trick their victims into handing over personal and financial information, which they can use for identity theft and other schemes.
If you come across such emails, simply delete them. If you’re a victim of this scam, contact the police, although chances that you’ll ever recover your money are slim.
Scammers are well aware that their chances of tricking people are much higher if they exploit a real story that’s been covered by the media. In this particular case, Facebook and Google are thrown into the mix just to make everything even more legitimate-looking.
In reality, Facebook and Google are not involved with any lottery, and just because the companies have a lot of money, it doesn’t mean that they’ll start handing it out to random people anytime soon.