Phishing scam email from fake UNICEF

James Ryan Jonas

We hope that our series on Phishing Emails have helped you identify fake emails and prevented you from becoming one of their victims.

You probably know by now that phishing emails, also known as fake or spoof emails, are used to direct recipients to a fraudulent website where they are asked to provide personal information. This information is then used for identity theft.

Below you’ll find another addition to our growing list of actual phishing emails we have recently received.


UNICEF fake email

This email, supposedly from the United Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organization of the United Nations, announces that we are one of “70 lucky international recipients worldwide” who will share in the $1.47 million that they are supposedly distributing “for your own personal, educational, and business development.”

Yeah right.

Text of the email:

* * * * * * * * * *

from Chianelli, Russell R. <>
date Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 8:05 AM

Unicef Organisation


The Unicef Orgnasation, 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 Unicef Orgnasation was formed in 1947 after WWII to help children displaced by the war. It was then called the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. The United Nations Organization (UNO) and the European Union (EU) was conceived with the objective of human growth, educational, and community development.

To celebrate the 27th anniversary program, The Unicef Organisation is giving out a yearly donation of One Million Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand United States Dollars. These specific Donations/Grants will be awarded to 70 lucky international recipients worldwide; in different categories for their personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans. At least 17% of the awarded funds should be used by you to develop a part of your environment. This is a yearly program, which is a measure of universal development strategy.

Based on the Continental selection exercise of internet,data base websites and millions of supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected among the lucky recipients to receive the award sum of US$1,470,000.00 (One Million Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand United States Dollars) as charity donations/aid from the Unicef Orgnasation and the UNO in accordance with the enabling act of Parliament. (Note that all beneficiaries email addresses were selected randomly from Various internet Job websites or a shop’s cash invoice around your area in which you might have purchased something from).

You are required to contact the Permanent Secetary below for qualification documentation and processing of your claims. After contacting our office, you will be given your pin number, which you will used in claiming the funds. Please endeavor to quote your Awarded pin numbers (U-777-1815, D-01-47) in all discussions.

Permanent Secetary- Mr. Peter Geroge

Finally, all funds should be claimed by their respective beneficiaries, no later than14 days after notification. Failure to do so will mean cancellation of that beneficiary and its donation will then be reserved for next year’s recipients. On behalf of the Board kindly, accept our warmest congratulations.

Happy New Year.

Sir. williams Charlton
(Online Coordinator)

* * * * * * * * * *

Why we know it’s fake

There are obvious giveaways that this email is a scam email.

First, the undersigned does not match the name of the sender. It immediately lessens the credibility of any email if it was signed by Mr. X and yet the email headers show it was sent by Mr. Y.

Also if indeed UNICEF sent the email, why was it sent from the domain? Don’t they have their own domain?

They too are able to give out $1.47 million and yet unable to afford a private, official email address and requests everyone to correspond to — a free email address? Huh?

And can they not hire good English writers or copy editors to check for typo and grammar errors before the emails are sent?

Their claim that some of the email addresses were “selected randomly from various internet Job websites or a shop’s cash invoice around your area” is flat out laughable. How were they able to get these invoices? By scavenging trash bins?

Finally, why oh why will UNICEF give out millions of dollars to random people they find on the internet? Why don’t they just tap their local offices to look for people who are really less fortunate?

If these people use email and have access to the internet, then they probably are not the poorest and the most needy, right? But, yes, some of them are gullible enough to fall for this scam.

Ah, the perfect victims, indeed.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.