I’ve just had one of those scam emails from someone I have never met but with whom have had some email correspondence.
The message had ‘vacation trip…help needed urgently!!!’ in the subject line and read:
“I’m currently in Spain, on a short vacation as I write this … what happened today is unbelievable, and now I am stuck here. I got mugged at gun point on my way to the hotel and my money, credit cards, phone and other valuables were stolen. Thank God they did not take my passport. I urgently need your help. I just need (1,550 EUROS) to sort out my hotel bills and I promise to pay you back once I get home.
I do have cash in my account, but I can’t access it right now because I had to cancel all my credit cards that were stolen!! I’m sending this from a free internet connection at the public library. I will be forever grateful if you can help me. Please respond quickly, as my flight leaves in less than 4 hours and I need to pay my hotel bill. Please save me from the embarrassment of not being able to cover the charges.”
Happily I know about these scam emails. In fact Matthew Wright (of The Wright Stuff) told me about one he had had, supposedly from a friend of his.
The emails are created by nasty hackers who get into someone’s email account and send this out to everyone in their address book.
As you can see, it looks quite believable, particularly if it comes from a friend who could perhaps go on holiday to Spain and may need help.
One giveaway that I noticed, though, was that the ‘reply’ email address looked exactly like her gmail one except that it was ‘ymail.com’. This means that if you did reply to it your email would go to the hackers who would pretend to be your friend and give you their own account for you to transfer the money. Dodgy eh?
So, be warned and tell your friends – this is a scam that’s been going on for a few years and it won’t stop any time soon. Don’t be fooled by it.