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Michelin Global Grant Program Advance Fee Scam

Message purporting to be from tyre company Michelin claims that the recipient has been awarded a grant of £1,500,000 as part of the company's "global economic empowerment program".

Scam Computer Key

© Artur Marciniec

Brief Analysis
The email is not from Michelin and the recipient has been granted nothing at all. The message is an advance fee scam designed to trick people into sending money and personal information to online criminals.

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Michelin Global Grants Office:

Date: 26th of August 2013
Note this information
Reference Number: [DSW231013]
Draw Number: [VF14201]

Dear Sir/Madam,

Michelin is pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a grant of £1,500,000.00(One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling) in our global economic empowerment program which was conducted on the 25th of August 2013. Congratulations!

Please note that as an email program, participants were selected from a database of one billion email subscribers obtained by our IT department which was responsible for conducting the draw. This is not a lottery program and no tickets were sold because the whole process was carried out online.

You should start claims on your grant immediately!

Contact us using the details below:
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Phone: [Removed]
The following details should be sent by email or fax to start claims:
1. Full Name:
2. Address:
3. Gender and Age:
4. Occupation:
5. Ref No and Draw No:
6. Phone No and Cell No:
7. Email account:

Please keep this information confidential until you have received payment to avoid security
Yours’ Sincerely,
Mr. Owen Philips
Grant Program Coordinator

Michelin Global Grants Office

Michelin Global Scam

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, the recipient has been awarded a grant of  £1,500,000 via the Michelin Global Grant Program.  Supposedly, the IT department at the famous tyre company selected the lucky recipient's email address from a database of one billion email subscribers. The recipient is urged to email or phone the "Grant Program Coordinator" to start the process of claiming the grant.

However, the email is not from Michelin and the recipient has been awarded nary a cent. In fact, the message is a typical advance fee scam designed to fool people into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals.

Those who contact the "coordinator" as instructed, will soon be asked to pay various upfront fees that are supposedly required to allow processing of the grant transfer.  The scammers will claim that the payments are needed to cover insurance, banking, tax and various other - entirely imaginary - fees. Victims will be told that they must pay the requested fees in advance and that the grant money cannot be awarded unless all the fees are fully paid.

Of course, the scammer will pocket all of the money sent. Victims are very unlikely to get any of their money back and they will certainly never get the promised grant, which never existed in the first place. Alas, requests for more and more fees may continue until victims finally realize that a scam is afoot or runs out of funds to send.

And, during the course of the scam, victims may be tricked into sending large amounts of personal and financial information to the scammer. This information may be used to steal the identity of victims.

Advance fee scams of this nature are very common. Scammers often use the names and logos of high-profile companies as a means of making their claims seem more legitimate.

Be very cautious of any unsolicited message that claims that you have won or been granted a large sum of money based on the random selection of your name or email address. Real grants or lotteries are not conducted in such a manner.

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Last updated: August 28, 2013
First published: August 28, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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