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17 February 2010 @ 09:32 pm
Be careful!  
This morning I got an email from a good friend of mine who I hadn't spoken with in a while. She and I used to travel a lot together years ago and we've been talking about meeting up in NYC, but have just never been able to connect recently.

Well, her email said that she was in London and she and her family had been robbed at gunpoint on their way back to the hotel. She had her credit cards, cash, cell phone, and ID stolen and she went to the US Embassy, who was of no help and then to the police, who was of no help either. Her email asked if we could help her because her flight was leaving later that day and the hotel manager would not let her leave without settling the bill.

Now... this sounded awful and totally plausible since my friend is known to travel abroad on a moment's notice - and the email came from HER actual email account. Of course, I'm the kind of person who would totally rush to help, but something struck me as odd about her email. The grammar wasn't quite her style... and some of the choices of words just didn't sound like her... so I googled "email scam london" and came upon this article:

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech/Email-Scams-83600577.html

Very similar situation, where someone claimed to have lost their wallet and couldn't get home and asked folks to wire money to them which they would pay back later... AND my friend had a Yahoo email account.

Not wanting to ignore my friend's email, in case she was really in trouble, I texted her to ask her if she was okay and if she was, to tell her that I think her email was hacked. She responded moments later saying that she was hacked and that she was fine and not in London or in need of money. Thank goodness it wasn't real, but how awful that these scam emails are being sent out!

So beware... these emails come from the actual accounts of people we know and are "signed" with their names. Like the article says, check to see if the person is okay before trying to send out any money. :P
 
 
 
Smithasmittenbyu on February 18th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
My husband got an email like that too! The person actually replied when my hubby emailed back with concern. He got an email from his high school teacher who was supposed to be in Spain. Although that was plausible, he got a doubt. He had a contact info of someone who would know her. So we found out that it wasn't her! Strange experience!!!
Sheri: Sydney - couchshutterbug93 on February 22nd, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
Thank goodness that your husband doubted too before sending any money. I swear, these scammers are just nuts!
(Anonymous) on February 18th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Someone else very recently had that sort of e-mail sent to them - or it was a Yahoo chat or something - and they initially thought that it was for real until they realized that the grammar and speech patterns were not like their friend at all.

Glad you checked into it instead of sending money. :)
Sheri: Sheri Mangashutterbug93 on February 22nd, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'd heard about something similar going around Yahoo chats and FB, too. Thank goodness the person you knew had doubts, too. As an update to my friend, I think she's working on getting everything straightened out with Yahoo and FB, her FB account is back, at least - which is a good sign.
(Deleted comment)
Sheri: Sydney - couchshutterbug93 on February 22nd, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
VERY creepy!! At first when I read the email, my heart sank into my shoes... seriously thinking about my friend getting robbed at gun point then being stuck in London? Thank goodness that I did some checking first before even replying to the email. :P And no kidding about the bad karma for these guys... sheesh!
L: Me with Johnicyblugurl on February 18th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's really scary. Good thing you put two and two together and realized it was a scam. I'll have to be sure to look out for those emails in case I ever get one.
Sheri: Sherishutterbug93 on February 22nd, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
It was pretty scary... especially when I first got it and thought for a moment that it was real. :P Thank goodness it wasn't real, though and that my friend is actually safe. But yes... please on the lookout for these emails - I couldn't believe that someone would do that!!