Photo Diary

Another Set of Thieving Fraudsters

Another week, another set of unpleasant people trying to rob others using the Internet.

This morning I was delighted to receive a mail from a friend. It’s been a few months since I have heard from her, and to have a mail item is always good, isn’t it? And then I got the sad message. She’d been robbed.

OK, these things happen. I read that while on holiday in the UK, someone had taken her purse. Ouch. In it was all her money, her passport, everything. Including credit cards, of course.

The US embassy was happy to help her. They’d let her fly home without a passport, but she had to settle her hotel bills and buy a ticket. Naturally the bank (boo, hiss) wouldn’t or couldn’t get a new card to her fast enough, and so had no access to funds. Could I help?

Now, since I live in the UK, there were quite a few points that struck me. Where to start? Well, the telephone number was an intriguing +44 702 402 9894 or +44 702 403 0611 – both intriguing because they are mobiles. Interestingly, they are based on a UK region code, but what’s the betting they’d redirect to a foreign country? Quite high.

Because this fraud is a nice, simple one to recognise.

The story is garbage. Here in the UK, it would be easy and quick to get money from a bank. Even with details like cards gone, over here we’re quite efficient in our banking. And the US embassy is large and helpful as well as efficient. They tend to assist US citizens in trouble. Even expediting passport issues so that, guess what? You can get to the bank and prove your ID.

However, the killer on this was the usual. I checked the email. It was a clever one, this. The reply email looked initially to be my friend’s – there was only one error in it, an extra “I” in the middle of her mail address.

If you have an email like this, just ignore it or, maybe, if you have any doubts, contact your friend at the normal email address from your address book on your computer. And before you even consider replying to the email, for goodness sake reread the mail and ask yourself: does this note actually sound like my friend?

It didn’t to me, so I emailed her. Naturally, she was in the US still, as I expected. She hasn’t been to the UK in years. And being a singer, I would have seen if she was planning a trip. Still, it meant that she was able to email her friends, which is kind of useful.

Ruddy thieves. I’m getting a couple of mails a week which are just as daft as this. If there is one that looks possibly genuine, always check with the actual contact, just to make sure. So far, not one request for funds has been remotely genuine.

Beware. There are lots of folks out there who want your money!

Comments are closed.