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E-Mail Scam – Friend Stranded & Needs Money

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Security Help

This e-mail scam has been around for a few years, but I thought I’d bring it up again because I received not one, but two of these e-mails in one day.  The e-mails work like this.  They say that a friend or a relative has been stranded abroad and needs money.

Below is an example of one that’s meant to imply that someone is in trouble while on a missionary trip. In a post on the AARP website, a volunteer at a non-profit group reported that scammers had used the e-mail address of the president of the group to e-mail volunteers a message that she’d been stranded in the Philippines and lost her wallet. Several volunteers responded by sending cash before the woman was able to warn them that this was a scam.

There’s this version that says the person has been robbed and needs help.

This may seem like an obvious scam, but the reason scammers have success is that they can send out literally millions of e-mails.  And sometimes they actually turn up in the inbox of someone who has a friend on a mission trip in the Phillipines or someone who really does know someone named Clive who might be in Cyprus.

I worked in a newsroom for many years and I remember the case of a woman who got an e-mail from a grandson on a camping trip who said he had been fined by park rangers in Canada and they weren’t going to let him leave the country until he paid the fine. Well, this poor woman actually did have a grandson who was on a camping trip in Canada. So she sent the money.  It was a scam. Her actual grandson was camping and climbing rocks, so he had no cell service and couldn’t be contacted.  The scammers just got lucky and hit upon someone with a grandchild on a Canadian camping trip.

Sometimes these scammers hijack a real person’s e-mail account and send pleas  for cash to all of their contacts, so be cautious. Just because it comes from a familiar address, doesn’t make the message legitimate.

If you receive a plea like this, don’t reply and don’t click on any attached links.  If you think an actual friend is in trouble, find another means to contact them.

~ Cynthia

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6 Responses to “E-Mail Scam – Friend Stranded & Needs Money”

  1. Clive Copland says:

    Dear Sir, yes I’m afraid I was the the victim of that scam claiming I was in Cyprus. It caused a lot of problems. They claimed there was a security alert when I tried to get into my account. The pop up seemed legit and would not let me enter my details until I stated my password. The all hell let lose, they started an account in Yahoo…all my info went to that account and all my contacts got these ridiculous e mails. Not much fun at all.
    Regards, Clive Copland.

  2. Dot says:

    Mine wasn`t through an e-mail, mine was over the telephone saying my grandson was stranded and needed money to get back home to the US from -if remember correct think was Philipines. This happened a few years ago, so people also need to be careful with these type of over the telephone calls.

  3. Dot says:

    Last week it was another phone call saying I was elligable for a knee brace and the Medicare would cover the bill. At first thought it was from my Healthcare place, but after talking a while realized it was another scam trying to get the social security number- they had a lot of info about my. Another thing to be careful. This might also eventually become in an e-mail. More to be alert for.

  4. Mary Eva Taylor says:

    I had an Uncle call from Arizonia saying he had gotten one from me.. everyone on my contact lists recieved on.
    What really got to me, went I checked my email to warn other contacts, my contacts were all gone, how they do that?
    I was able to retrieve some from a memory folder.
    Thank you for letting other people know about this!

  5. Mary Eva Taylor says:

    One more thing, when I went to spokeo??.com, to typein the hackers email(ataylo26@hotmail) my info comes up. I have looked at the full header to see where it orginates with/out any luck, o well just another scammer useing my name an info

  6. Kevin says:

    They don’t have time to inform anyone of their trip? Maybe when this first appeared, but today it takes less than a minute to hit Facebook and Twitter. No reason not to post before leaving the house. Let alone at the airport.

    And how did management get the passport? If it wasn’t misplaced, you’d still have it. Unless you’re stupid enough to give it to anybody who asks. Don’t be stupid enough to give it to whoever asks.

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