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Catholic Church Cash Grant Scam Email

Summary:
Email claims that the Catholic Church in Italy has awarded the recipient a large cash grant to be used for "personal, educational, and business development" (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, June 2007)
CHIESA CATTOLICA ITALIANA(THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ITALY)

The Catholic church Italy, would like to notify you that you have been chosen by the board of trustees as one of the final recipients of a cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, educational, and business development. The Chiesa Cattolica Italiana,established in the year 1872, is one of the biggest church built for God in Italy. In the year 1901, they started offering collection for the sole aim of human growth, educational and Community development. In conjunction with the ECOWAS, UNO, and the EU, We are giving out a yearly donation of US$650,000.00 each to 100 lucky recipients each year. These specific Donations/Grants will be awarded to 100 lucky international recipients worldwide; in different categories for their personal business development. The objective is to make a notable change in the standard of living of people all around the Universe (From America to Europe, Asia to Africa and all around).

Kindly note that you will only be chosen to receive the donation once, which means that subsequent yearly donation will not get to you.Take time and thought in spending the donation wisely on something that will last you a long time. Based on the random selection exercise of internet websites and millions of supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected among the lucky recipients to receive the award sum of US$650,000.00 as charity donations/aid from the Catholic church Italy, ECOWAS, EU and the UNO in accordance with the enabling act of Parliament.

(Note that all beneficiaries email addresses were selected randomly from over 100,000 internet websites or a shop's cash invoice around your area in which you might have purchased something from). You are required to contact the Church Executive Secretary below, for qualification documentation and processing of your claims. After contacting the secretary, you will be given your donation pin number, which you will use in collecting the funds.

Please endeavor to quote your Qualification numbers (N-222-6647, E-910-56) in all discussions. Exec Sec. Miss. Mary Pepe Email: mmarypepemi@yahoo.it

Please note that these donations/Grants are strictly administered by the EU, ECOWAS, UNO. You are by all means hereby advised to keep this whole information confidential until you have been able to collect your donation. On behalf of God, The Church, Ecowas, UNO and the EU, accept our warmest congratulations. May God Bless you with this donation.




Commentary:
According to this email, Chiesa Cattolica Italiana, the Catholic Church in Italy, has awarded the recipient a cash grant or donation of $650,000.00 to be used for personal, educational, and business development. The message claims that the recipient was randomly selected from a pool of email addresses collected online or from information recorded on shopping invoices.

However, the supposed grant does not exist and is simply the bait used by scammers to trick victims into replying to the email. If the scammers receive a reply, they will begin an ongoing correspondence with their potential victim via email, phone or letter. Eventually, the scammers will request that the victim pay various fees, supposedly required to allow the "grant" to be released or delivered. The scammers will insist that these fees cannot be deducted from the grant itself for legal or insurance reasons. Requests for fees will likely continue until the victim realizes that he or she has been duped. The victim may also be tricked into providing a large amount of personal information that could be subsequently used to steal his or her identity.

The message is easily identified as fraudulent by its obvious logical flaws. While Christian organizations such as the Catholic Church do regularly donate funds to various worthy causes, they DO NOT randomly grant large sums of money to total strangers chosen solely via an email address or the name on a shopping invoice. Any such claim is simply ludicrous. In fact, it is equally ludicrous to suggest that such an organization would clandestinely harvest contact information from websites or invoices in the first place. Such a practice would be a highly unethical and an extremely impractical and haphazard method of selecting a grant recipient. In reality, donations or grants would only be given to people or groups who truly required such charity or were in a position to help others by their use of the funds. It is absurd to claim that the Catholic Church would give $650,000 to 100 people every year to be used in any way that the recipients deemed fit. And, of course, a wealthy and powerful entity like the Catholic Church in Italy would be very unlikely to use a free Yahoo email address as a contact.

An almost identical version of the scam message identifies the "Église catholique en France" as the branch of the Catholic Church offering the "grant".

This "church grant" ruse is just a variation of the long running email lottery scam in which recipients are informed that they have won a large amount of money in an international lottery.

You should be very cautious of any unsolicited message that claims that you have been awarded a grant that you never applied for or have won a lottery that you never entered. Similar scams may claim that you can gain a percentage of several million dollars by helping to transfer the funds out of a foreign bank account.

Last updated: 12th July 2007
First published: 12th July 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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