Story of a scam

If you post your email address in public and on websites and newsgroups the way I do, you get a lot of spam and scams and phishing attempts.  I get enough offers of Viagra to turn the old folks home into the French Foreign Legion.  I’ll be collecting hundreds of millions from orphan accounts in Nigeria any day.  But today was a first–I was invited to be the loser in a really well designed scam.

First thing this morning, I get an email ostensibly from a friend of mine–correct email address and all.

HELLO,

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes,I’m sorry i didn’t inform you about my trip,I had a trip to the United Kingdom(LONDON) and a bizarre thing happened to me.I was mugged at a gun point last night, it happened at the park of the Hotel were i lodged but thank God i wasn’t hurt,all cash,credit card and cell-phone were stolen off me…but luckily for me i still have my life and passports with me,I was able to make contact with the Uk Police and i was directed to the Embassy, but they seems to be taking things too slow.I need your help so urgently.. My flight leaves pretty soon but i am having problems sorting out the hotel bills I need a quick loan to get things fixed out here, I promise to refund as soon as i get back home.. please reply asap. Learn here the right way to pay off payday loans online.

Well, that’s a pretty sad story, and I’m the kind of guy who would help a friend, but there might be a question or two here.  My friend is an educated woman, why is the grammar so poor?  Wouldn’t she capitalize “i”?  Why would an American use the British phrase “sorting out”?

So there is no doubt in my mind that this is just a scam–somebody hacked her yahoo.com mail account and sent this to everyone in her addressbook, hoping to find a few suckers to wire some cash.

Just for the heck of it, I replied, asking for directions to send help.  Within a very few minutes, I got this miracle of run-on sentences:

I am so glad you replied back the hotel management has been kind to let have an access to a library to get across to anybody to help me since my luggages was also taken away,I am full of panic now and the police only asked me to write a statement about the incident and directed me to the embassy,i have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively and right now i really need your help cause my return flight leaves in few hours and am having problem in sorting out the hotel bills and i need you to loan me some money so that i can pay the bills and get a flight back home tothe airport,all i need to sort the hotel bill and take a cab to the hotel is $1300…i promise you that as soon as i get back home i will def refund it back to you.
here are the details you will be needing at the western  union to get the money wired to me below..
NAME:XXXX XXXXXX
LOCATION:LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
Kindly get back to me with the confirmation number(MTCN#)
i will be here waiting for you…
THANKS
Hmm, it looks like all this stress has further diminished her writing skills.  “My luggages was also taken away”? “i will def refund it back to you”?  She didn’t graduate law school writing like that.
So this was obviously yet another internet scam, and I didn’t need to worry about my friend sitting helpless in the United Kingdom (LONDON).  I just wish I could figure out a) why the scammers don’t managed to write these thing in something that resembles intelligible English and b) who the heck falls for this tripe? I’d be embarrassed to have friends dumb enough to actually wire money to these illiterate clowns.
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4 thoughts on “Story of a scam

  1. I got the same scam about 6-8 months ago (just deleted it). About 2 months ago, I got another email from the real person saying ‘no, we were not in London and no, they didn’t lose all their credit cards, but they did get their email hacked and they have changed their email’ – interesting the time lag between the two.

  2. The same thing happened to a friend of mine on g-mail. However, her scammer used much better grammar.

  3. I’m glad you thought so highly of my education! I notified most friends right away that it was a Scam. Some replied to the scammer but I don’t think any sent money. I hope not.

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