I am not stuck at a hotel, cash-less, and trying to get home ;) Nor do I have a $50,000 car for sale at only $15,000, or am I looking to share my wealthy inheritance from King Aboobowee over in a country who’s name I can’t even pronounce. In other words, WATCH OUT FOR EMAIL SCAMS!
There are some crazy ass hackers out there right now getting into a lot of people’s emails – and I’m actually scared their tricks may be working (why else would they continue doing it after all these years?) I’ve literally gotten THREE emails from personal, and blogger, friends of mine in the last two weeks stating their wallets were stolen and they need money asap.
While it may seem convincing at first (you know, because it’s coming from your FRIEND), do not fall for it! These emails aren’t coming from our best buds – they’re coming from hackers pretending to be them. You know those zombie movies where evil bastards take over normal people’s bodies? Well, it’s like that ;) Only they want your money instead of your brains.
Here’s an example of the latest one I received:
“How are you doing today? Hope you get this on time,sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip to United Kingdom for a program. It has been a very sad and bad moment for me over here and the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain, I’m sorry for this odd request and I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I was mugged at gun point last night at the park of the hotel where i checking all my cash, credit cards and cell were stolen off me. I am even owing the hotel a sum $2000, the hotel manager won’t let me leave until i settle the hotel bills now am freaked out. So i have limited access to emails for now and i can’t access phone for now, please i need you to lend me about $3500 or any amount you can afford so i can make arrangements and return back I am full of panic now, 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, I will refund the money back to you as soon as i return, I am so confused right now and thank God i wasn’t injured because I complied immediately. I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here, please understand how important and urgent i needed your help. so please let me know on time so i can forward you my details on how to transfer the money And let this be personal even if you can’t help because i don’t want people to be worried about me.I await your responseThanks”
If the horrible grammar doesn’t give it away at first (we all have friends who write like they’re on crack – myself included sometimes), the fact that they’re EMAILING you for this info should be a huge warning sign. As well as the business-like response at the end, and the famous “don’t tell anyone I’m trying to trick you” type deal. We’re not 5 years old anymore. Remember, these zombies have full access to our friends’ email accounts right now until they figure out what’s going on and can reset their password. So if you get one of these, CALL up your text your friend to let him/her know they’ve been hacked – don’t email them back ;)
A good rule of thumb to spot a scam right away is when someone’s asking for your personal and account information over email/internet. Paypal, USAA, and all the other banks out there that are legitimate business would never do this! Nor would I, so don’t ever give me money :) (Unless you’ve won one of my sexy giveaways – then you better give me your address or I’ll have to keep ’em for myself!)
Here’s a slighty “better” email scam…def. got me confused at first since it was the first on I’d seen:
“I’m writing this with tears in my eyes,We came down here to England for a short vacation and i was mugged at gun point last night,at the park of the hotel where we lodged all cash,creditcards and cell were stolen off me, thank God we have our life and passport.
I’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all,they asked us to wait for 3weeks but we can’t wait till then. Our flight leaves in less than 3hrs from now and we are having problems settling the hotel bills.
The hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the hotel bills. you can speak with him through this number +44702494501 we are freaked out at the moment
you can wire the money to me through westernunion all you need is Name on my passport and location below..
Name: [name of my friend – TRICKY!!!]
Location:60 Hyde Park Gate – Kensington London sw7 5bb Kingdom
I’ll def refund your cash as soon as i get home.”
More convincing right? This one uses my friend’s full name in it along w/ addresses & phone numbers that could very well be legit. They even use the urgency factor here to try and catch you off guard! But yeah, you get the point. I’m sure 99% of you would never fall for these to begin with, but in the off chance you are in the 1% I hope this makes you second guess :) You’ve worked hard for your money, and I want to see you hold on to it! Don’t let these zombies scam you.
UPDATE: My friend who got hacked in that 2nd email there shot me an update:
“It sure does suck, thanks for informing people! I’m just glad I got my e-mail back, Gmail has this recovery form that’s pretty much crazy, but thankfully I knew enough esoteric stuff about my e-mail history to get it back. It was crazy they change all your password recovery stuff and everything. But lesson learned, keep my e-mail password unique to my e-mail only.
I was at a party this weekend and my “england crisis” came up and everyone was laughing about it and someone there told us a story about how their friend lost $7,000 to a scam like this. It’s really sad, you’d think it only effects the infirm or slow, but a surprising number of well-educated people and young college students fall for this.”
KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN Friends!!!
(Awesome zombie photo by Eric Ingrum)