Freemasons' Grant Scam Email
Email claims that The Freemason's Grand Charity has selected the recipient to be the beneficiary of a grant worth 1.5 million dollars (Full commentary below
(Submitted, November 2007)
Subject: THE FREEMASONS' GRAND CHARITY.
The Freemason society of Bournemouth under the jurisdiction of the all Seeing Eye, Master Nicholas Brenner has after series of secret deliberations selected you to be a beneficiary of our 2007 foundation laying grants and also an optional opening at the round table of the Freemason society.
These grants are issued every year around the world in accordance with the objective of the Freemasons as stated by Thomas Paine in 1808 which is to ensure the continuous freedom of man and to enhance mans living conditions.
We will also advice that these funds which amount to USD1.5million be used to better the lot of man through your own initiative and also we will go further to inform that the open slot to become a Freemason is optional,you can decline the offer.
NB: PLEASE FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING BELOW......
TELEPHONE NUMBER AND FAX NUMBER COMPULSORY:
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HELP THE NEEDED OR WHAT DO YOU INTEND TO DO:
IMPORTANT NOTICES: You are to contact this email for payment procedure at: email@example.com
View our website for more informations: www.grandcharity.co.uk
Barr. Refeal Robinson
Grand Lodge Office Co-Secretary's.
One of the many ruses used by Internet scammers is to falsely claim that their potential victim has been awarded a sizable monetary grant from a well-known charitable organization or religious entity. Notification of this supposed grant generally arrives in the form of an unsolicited email. The email instructs recipients to supply name and contact details and email a representative of the grant scheme for further instructions regarding payment.
However, the supposed grant does not exist and the message does not really originate from the organization named in the email. Victims who fall for this ruse and reply will be slowly drawn deeper into the web of deceit spun by the scammers. Sooner or later, they will be asked to send money, ostensibly to cover fees related to the release of the grant. The scammers will claim that the fees are necessary for such things as insurance, tax or transfer expenses. They will insist that the fees must be paid before the grant can be finalized and that they cannot be paid out of the grant money itself. Of course, all money sent will be kept by the scammers and the victim will never see a cent of the entirely fictitious "grant money". To make matters worse, the scammers may have tricked their victim into submitting a large amount of personal information during the course of the scam - enough information for them to steal his or her identity.
The version of the scam shown above claims to be notification of a grant awarded by The Freemason's Grand Charity
in the UK. The Freemason's Grand Charity is a real organization, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with this scam attempt and certainly did not send the message. To further the illusion that the grant is genuine, a link to the real Freemason's Grand Charity website is included in the message. This is a clever tactic, because potential victims who follow the link may become convinced that the scam message is legitimate due to the site's content. The Freemason's Grand Charity does
issue grants to support people in need and this is immediately apparent when visiting the site. Therefore, after conducting this cursory research, some recipients may then be convinced that the message is legitimate and proceed with the scammer's instructions.
However, a closer examination of the website soon reveals that the Freemason's Grand Charity does not issue grants randomly to individuals and certainly would not inform grant recipients via unsolicited emails. Not surprisingly, there are strict eligibility guidelines
for procuring grants. Firstly, Non-Masonic grants are made only to registered charities, not individuals. Masonic Grants are given to individuals only if they are Freemasons or close family members of Freemasons. Secondly, charities must actively seek a grant by submitting a quite detailed application form. Individuals seeking grants must contact a representative of the organization to start the application procedure. Thus, the organization does not simply award a grant to someone who has not even applied for one. And thirdly, at 1.5 million US dollars, the supposed grant discussed in the message is far higher than those normally offered by the organization.
Never assume that an unsolicited email is genuine just because it claims to be from a real organization and contains links to the organization's genuine website. It is vastly improbable that any church or charitable organization would randomly offer huge monetary grants to people who never applied for such a grant in the first place. Any email, fax or letter that makes such a claim should be treated with suspicion, regardless of which organization is identified as the sender. These messages are very likely to be fraudulent and in no way connected to the legitimate organizations that they claim to represent.
An earlier version of the scam:
Subject: 2005 GRANT, VERY URGENT
The Freemasons' Grand Charity
Guidelines for Grant Applications
The Freemason society of Bournemouth under the jurisdiction of the all Seeing Eye, Master Nicholas Brenner has after series of secret deliberations selected you to be a beneficiary of our 2005 foundation laying grants and also an optional opening at the round table of the Freemason society.
These grants are issued every year around the world in accordance with the objective of the Freemasons as stated by Thomas Paine in 1810 which is to ensure the continuous freedom of man and to enhance mans living conditions.
We will also advice that these funds which amount to USD2.5million be used to better the lot of man through your own initiative and also we will go further to inform that the open slot to become a Freemason is optional, you can decline the offer.
In order to claim your grant, contact the Grand Lodge Office secretary David P. Owen.
Grand Lodge Office Secretary’s email:
[Contact details removed]
Last updated: 28th November 2007
First published: 28th November 2007
Write-up by Brett M. Christensen
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