A few minutes ago, I received a weird email from a friend. It was his valid email address but the content sounded fishy. It went like this:
Western Union scam email
How are you doing today? I need you to help me out of this devastating situation that I got my self into, I had to come down to United Kingdom and unfortunately for me I was attacked by robbers in the Hotel where I am lodge.The robbers made away with my entire luggage’s, including my credit cards and air return tickets, they also disconnected the Hotel’s telephone cables, so we cant get access to the Interpol and also and compromised its database too, which means that no credit card payments nor online payments can be made at the moment.
Please I need you to lend me $1,500 US Dollars so I can use it to settle up my Hotel’s bills and book the nearest flight home and as soon as I return home it would be reimbursed, please I need you to send the money via Western union money transfer to my name and on this address below,
Receivers Names: Mark Maria Montesa.
Receivers Address/location: 19 New Dover Road,Canterbury
Dover Kent,CT1 3AH, United kingdom
Thank you so much, please as soon as you are done sending me the money, I need you to help me write out the MTCN details giving to you by the Western union agent or better still help me scan a copy of the receipt. I am looking forward to hear from you.this the details i need in getting the money picked up here in UK:
Sender’s Name: …
Amount sent: …
M.T.C.N (the ten digits number): …
Hope to hear from you soon.
Why this is a scam
Now, this email is weird and fishy for several reasons. One, if the sender really was my friend Mark, I’m sure he won’t start the letter with a formal “Greetings, How are you doing today?”.
Two, he’s not in the United Kingdom at present so whatever story written in the email is unlikely.
Three, assuming he was “attacked by robbers in the Hotel” and “disconnected the Hotel’s telephone cables, so we cant get access to the Interpol,” if he really wanted to contact the police, he could have simply used a payphone outside the hotel!
Lastly, if I am to send him cash via Western Union, I’ll make sure the money is addressed to him exactly! “Mark Maria Montesa” is not his name!
Thus, the only explanation for this email is that this is a scam email.
How it happened
Most probably, my friend’s email account was compromised, becoming a victim of a phishing attempt and now the hacker is spamming the address book with this scam email.
If you received a similar email, make sure you don’t fall for it. This is clearly, absolutely, 100% for a fact, pure SCAM.