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MoneyGram International 73rd Anniversary Reward Advance Fee Scam

Message purporting to be from MoneyGram claims that the company is rewarding customers with prizes of $60,000 as a means of celebrating its 73rd Anniversary.

Little white man deceives another man with a money trap

© Damiano Poli

Brief Analysis
The message is not from MoneyGram and recipients have not been selected for a $60,000 reward. In fact, the message is a ruse designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to online criminals.

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Subject: Thank you for using Money Gram

Dear Sir / Madam,
For 73 years, Money Gram International, Inc. has been connecting people. At Money Gram, there's so much more than money you're sending. Every sender and Receiver is important to us. To celebrate our 73rd Anniversary, we're rewarding our customers with prizes of USD60, 000.00.

The Promotion is open to everyone around the globe aged 18 or over. The Promotion is valid from 7th of August 2013 to 31st of December 2013 and while Stocks last, both dates inclusive, and such longer period as determined by Money Gram in its absolute discretion.

Because you sent money on-line, from an agent location or received money through Money Gram International, Inc, you've been selected. However, you are required to forward the following information for immediate payment of your USD60, 000.00.

1.) Bank Name;
2.) Beneficiary:
3.) Account Number:
4.) Bank Address:
5.) Swift Code or Routing Number:
6.) Country Of Residence:
7.) Your Mobile Telephone Number:
You will be contacted by Money Gram International, Inc in the next 24 hours as Soon as you forward your required information and you will receive the USD60, 000.00 prizes immediately from us.

Promotion Officer
Mr. David Lee,
Save time, send money, earn rewards! Money Gram is a service people trust. 
Thank you for using Money Gram!

We endeavor to maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to guard your Information. We also endeavor to restrict Information access to our employees, agents and representatives that need to know it. Money Gram will never disclose your personal or billing information to a third party.

MoneyGram Scam

Detailed Analysis

This message, which purports to be from international funds transfer company MoneyGram, informs recipients that they have been selected to receive a reward of $60,000. According to the message, the company is offering the cash prizes to customers as a means of celebrating its 73rd anniversary.

Recipients are urged to email personal details to the "Promotion Officer" to claim their prize.

Rather bizarrely, the supposed notification message comes as a Microsoft Word document attached to an email. In ComicSans font, no less.

However, the message is not from MoneyGram and the recipient has not been rewarded with so much as a cent. The message is an advance fee scam designed to extract both money and personal information from victims.

Those who send their information as requested, will be asked to pay upfront fees, ostensibly to allow processing of the prize money. The criminals operating the scam will claim that the requested money is required to cover costs such as insurance, legal, banking and transfer fees. The scammers will ask for a whole series of - totally imaginary - fees that they will insist must be paid in advance if the prize is to be awarded. They will claim that the fees cannot be paid from the prize itself for legal reasons.  Requests may continue until victims finally realize that they are being scammed or simply run out of available funds to send.

Sadly, victims are quite unlikely to see a return of the funds that they have sent to the criminals. And, of course, they will never get the promised $60,000, which never existed to begin with.

Moreover, during the course of the scam, the criminals may collect a large amount of personal and financial information from their victims. The scammers begin collecting this information from the outset, via the initial message. Later, they may ask for further information, ostensibly to verify the victim's identity and arrange bank transfers.

Thus, as well as losing their money directly, victims may also have their identities stolen.

Advance fee scams are very common. This example is just a reworking of a typical lottery scam. The scammers often hijack the names and logos of high profile companies as a means of making their claims seem more credible.

Be wary of any message that claims that you have been randomly selected as the winner of a large sum of money in a lottery or promotion that you have never even entered. Genuine promotions do not operate in this manner.

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Last updated: September 19, 2013
First published: September 19, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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