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Google Winner Email Scam

Also Known As: Google Winner spam
Damage level: Severe

What is "Google winner email scam"?

The "Google winner" scam is distributed using a spam email campaign that tricks people into believing that they have won £950,000.00. In fact, this particular email steals private information by leading users to websites where they are asked to enter login details, passwords, etc.

These emails are often used to distribute malicious programs. Therefore, do not trust "Google winner" and other similar scams - ignore them.

Google winner spam campaign

Scammers present the "Google winner" email as a winning notification message. It states that the recipient has been selected as a winner of £950,000.00 for actively using Google services (Google search engine, Gmail, Maps, etc.).

To claim the prize, users are encouraged to contact the Foreign Payment Bureau via briancarter@g-reward.com and provide them with details such as full name, contact address, country and nationality, telephone/mobile telephone, occupation, age and gender, and private email address.

People are urged to keep their winning information confidential until the claim is processed and prize is remitted. As mentioned above, this is simply a scam and you should not contact these scammers via the email address or send your details. Note that Google has nothing to do with this fake online lottery.

As part of the scam, people are provided with a web link to a site where they are asked to enter their login details and passwords - this is how scammers use this particular scam to steal personal details.

Threat Summary:
Name Google Winner Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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There are many scammers who use a number of different spam campaigns. Some examples of other similar scams are Looked At You For Several Months, I Am A Spyware Software Developer, and Services Which Actually I Sell In Darknet.

In most cases, they attempt to extort money from regular users, however, some spam campaign infect computers with high-risk viruses such as TrickBot, Emotet, AZORult, Adwind, and so on. In these cases, people receive emails that contain malicious attachments (or web links leading to such documents).

Attached documents are usually Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, and others), PDF files, archive files such as RAR, ZIP, executable files, and so on.

The purpose of these malicious attachments is to install computer infections that steal personal data (passwords, logins, banking details, etc.) and cause problems relating to privacy, browsing safety financial losses, and other problems. Furthermore, the aforementioned viruses also spread other infections such as ransomware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Malicious attachments presented in emails sent by scammers (cyber criminals) infect computers only when they are opened/executed. Therefore, manual intervention by a recipient is required. If the attached file is a Microsoft Office documents, once it is downloaded and opened, it asks for permission to enable macro commends.

Enabling them allows the downloaded malicious attachment to install a computer infection. If the attached file is an archive file, it will first need to be extracted.

This will probably contain an executable file (.exe) that, once executed, will install a malicious program. In any case, malicious files (attachments) presented in spam email campaigns cannot do any harm unless they are opened.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Ignore irrelevant emails received from unknown/untrustworthy email addresses. If an email contain an attachment (or web link), do not open it. Download software using official and trustworthy websites (or other sources). This does not include various peer-to-peer networks (torrents, eMule and so on), third party downloaders, etc. Download and install software with care.

Do not skip download/installation set-up steps without checking "Custom", "Advanced", and other similar settings or options. Opt-out of any offers to install additional software and only then finish the download/installation. Update software using implemented functions or tools provided by official software developers only.

Never use third party software updaters, since these are often dubious and install malicious programs.

Use a Microsoft Office suite version no earlier than 2010: newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents downloaded malicious documents from installing computer infections. If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Google winner" email message:

Subject: OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION LETTER
Dear Google User.
You have been selected as a winner for using Google services, attached to this email is Our Official Notification Letter for your perusal.
Larry Page,
CEO/CO-FOUNDER,
GOOGLE INC.

 Screenshot of the PDF document presented in "Google winner" scam:

pdf file presented in Google winner scam

Text presented in PDF document:

Google UK Ltd
Belgrave House
76 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 9TQ United Kingdom.
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION LETTER
Ref No: GAAP/ 5653/657/2018 Batch: GAAP/ 563/GAPRO/UK
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 VisaÆ/MasterCardÆ International and confirmed by our co- sponsors the Foundation for the Promotion of Software Products (F.P.S.P). Over the years Google earns itsí 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 E- mail 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: Brian Carter
Senior Vice President and Chief Legal
Email: briancarter@g-reward.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.
©Copyright 2018 Google Incorporation. All rights reserved.

Yet another variant of this email scam:

google winner scam email variant 2

Text presented in this variant:

Dear Google User,
Find attached Google Official Letter confirming you as a winner of the ongoing AWARD PROMOTION, congratulations from all us.
Sundar Pichai,
Chief Executive Officer,
Google Inc.

GOOGLE INC.,
Google LLC
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA.
RE: OFFICIAL WINNING NOT IFICATION LETTER:-
BAT CH ID: 10084-202807 REFFERENCE ID:2807/0708/1408
We wish to congratulate you ony our success as you were selected as a winner in the official publication of results oft he E-mail electronic online sweepstake organized by Google Foundation and Foundation for the Promotion of Software Products (F.P.S.P).
You have been selected as one oft he lucky winners in the ongoing GOOGLE Electronic Online Sweepstakes and you are entitled to $1,450,000.00 USD {One Million Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand} in your category.
For processing of your payment, you are required to send the following information immediately:
PAYMENT CLAIMS FORM
1) Your Full Names:
2) Your Contact Address:
3) Your Country/Nationality:
4) Y our Telephone/Mobile Number(s):
5) Occupation:
6) Age/Gender:
7) Private Email Address (OPTIONAL):
8) Ever Won An Online Lottery?
Your prize will be transferred to you through our accredited paying bank upon meeting the requirements. 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 our office.
Send your payment verification information via email to our Vice President and Foreign Payment Administrator
below:
...............................................................................................................
Name:Jon Alferness Vice President and Payment Administrator.
Email: jonalferness.vice@gmail.com ...............................................................................................................
NOTE!!! For security reasons, you are advised to keep this notification confidential as part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claims and unwarranted abuse of this program.
Sundar Pichai,
Chief Executive Officer, Google Inc.

Another malicious attachment (Official Winning Letter by Google and mastercard visa 2019.pdf) distributed via this email spam campaign:

Google Winner email spam campaign attachment Official Winning Letter by Google and mastercard visa 2019.pdf

Text presented within this PDF document:

Google Visa/MasterCard (GVMC) Award
Purchase Street, Purchase, NY 10577 United States.
Your e-mail address winning details:
- Award Batch No: GVMC/6736006577/2019
- E-Ticket No: 2970006736006577UK/US
- E-Grant Amount: £950,000.00
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION LETTER
This is to inform you that you have been selected as a winner for using Google Services bythe E-mail
electronic online sweepstake organized by Google, in conjunction with the Foundation for the Promotion of
Software Products (F.P.S.P) and confirmed by our co-sponsors Visa®/MasterCard® International. You have
therefore beenawarded the sum of£950,000.00 with E-Ticket No: 2970006736006577UK/US. Be informed
that your prize has been insured and a Visa/MasterCard will be credited with the total sum won and
delivered to your designated address which you are to provide to your claim administrator. We do believe
with your prize, you will continue to be active in your usage of Google services and Visa/MasterCard
products.
Furthermore, your winning prize delivery logistics will be superintended by our European-regional
representative office as was indicated in your winning coupon slip. Your prize will be released to you upon
meeting the requirement of the promotion award board authority which includes your statutory obligations.
You are advised to contact our Foreign Payment Bureau with your Claims information as required below to
file your Claims:
CLAIMS FORM
1) Full Names:
2) Address:
3) Phone Number:
4) Age:
5) Occupation:
6) Private Email Address:
7) Ever Won An Online Lottery?
8) How satisfied are you with Google? (A=Very Satisfied; B=Satisfied; C=Unsatisfied)
Send all response via email to our Foreign Payment Bureau officer below:
----------
Name:David C. Drummond
Designation:Senior Vice President, Google.
Email: gukteamceo@googlemail.com
david.drummond.guk51@fastservice.com
----------
We value your right to privacy! Your information is 100% secured and will be used exclusively for the
purpose of this award only.
NOTE!!!Forsecurityreasons, youareadvised tokeepyourwinninginformationconfidential tillyourclaimsareprocessed andyourmoneyremittedtoyou. Thisispartofour precautionarymeasuretoavoiddouble
claimingandunwarranted abuseofthisprogram. PleasebeWARNED!!!!
Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of Google Visa/MasterCard (GVMC) Award International.
MD Ajay Banga, Larry Page
President &CEO, MasterCard Int. Co-Founder & CEO Google Inc.

Another variant of "Google Winner" email spam campaign:

Google Winner email spam campaign

Text presented within this email:

Subject: Conventional View

Google Inc
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Good day Sir/Madam,

You have successfully been picked as one of our 12 Lucky Winners in this months Lottery Draw, Please see attached file for more details.

Sincerely,
Sundar Pichai
CEO, Google Inc.

Screenshot of the deceptive attachment:

Google Winner email spam campaign rogue attachment

Another variant of "Google Winner" email spam campaign:

Goole Winner email spam campaign

Appearance of this email (GIF):

Google Winner email spam campaign (GIF)

Text presented within this email:

Dear Email User

You are one of the lucky winners of Google anniversary for a total sum of 950,000.00 GBP, view affixed for further details to claim.

Notification Team from Alphabet (Google).

>>> attached png file.

Another variant of "Google Winner" scam email:

Google Winner scam email (2020-05-25)

Text presented within:

Subject: GOOGLE GB

Dear Lithuanian Google Award Winner,
 
We wish to congratulate you for being one of the selected Online Grant Recipient in the GOOGLE AWARDS UNITED KINGDOM COVID 19 RELIEF GIVE AWAY, Kindly confirm, reception of this notification email and contact our Regional Office in United Kingdom via Email for More Details with your Grant Payment Code (May/24/Lithuania/453/2020) of 946,000.00 GBP.
 
CONTACT DETAILS
Name: Seth Wallace
Google UK Grant Manager
Email: sethgfdawards@gmail.com
Phone #: +44 793 704 6513
Fax     #: +44 843 524 1558
 
StaySafe, StayHealthy StayPositive, From Google UK Team.
 
Regards,
Diane Greene (Google Cloud UK)

Yet another example of "Google Winner" scam email:

Google Winner scam email (2020-06-12)

Text presented within:

Subject: Congratulations:International Grant Recipient

Dear International Grant Recipient,
 
We wish to congratulate you for being one of the selected Online Grant Recipient/Winner in the GOOGLE AWARDS UNITED KINGDOM COVID 19 RELIEF GIVE AWAY,Kindly confirm, reception of this notification email for More Details with your Grant Payment Code:(June/12/2020/Batch/453/).
 
Amount Won: 946,000.00 GBP
 
StaySafe, StayHealthy StayPositive,From Google UK Team.
 
Regards,
Diane Greene (Google General Secretary UK)
Phone #: +44 793 704 6513
Fax #: +44 843 524 1558

Yet another variant of Google-themed spam email:

Google-themed spam email (2020-10-05)

Text presented within:

Subject: Thank You For Being An Active User(Your Reward)

 

Dear Google User.

Attached to this email is your official Google Sweepstakes notification for being an active user of Google Products.

Best Regards,
CEO/CO-Founder,
GOOGLE INC.

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Google Winner spam QR code
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