The travel scam.

I tried to post the last copy of ‘Samuel’s Girl’ today but the post office was closed. It’s a local holiday. Oddly, on this local holiday, the nation-wide Post Office was closed but Local Shop was not. Oh well, try again tomorrow.

There was a desperate email from a relative waiting for me when I got home.

Hello,

I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. we had to be in Ukraine for Tour..The program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. we misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.

I am sorry for any inconvenience caused, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a short term loan from you(£1,650).Or what ever amount you can afford to help with, this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest. I will check my email every 30 minutes for your reply.

Thanks so much.

I knew at once it was a scam. All my relatives, and pretty much everyone else, knows perfectly well that if they need to borrow a lot of money fast, I am the one person on the entire planet least likely to have any. Closer inspection showed that although it appeared that a response would go to the real email address, it would in fact go to an @outlook.com address. I have heard of this scam before but it’s the first time I’ve seen one.

It’s a bit slapdash. It opens with ‘Hello’. If you want to borrow a large amount of money from someone you should at least have the courtesy to remember their name. The grammar collapses halfway through as if it was written by someone whose brain fell out at the end of the first paragraph.

This is probably the result of her opening an attachment on a dodgy email. I expect everyone in her address book has received this email.

It’s too late to phone around. I just hope everyone knows that nobody in this family would be daft enough to go to Ukraine at the moment.

 

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14 thoughts on “The travel scam.

  1. Yep, it’s likely from a stolen addy book that got swiped when she clicked on a bad button on a website. I’ve seen the scam before: there’s a version out there that’s a bit more convincing and at least one person I knew actually got taken by it a few years back. When they send out 500,000 of these things they only need one person in a thousand to fall for it and they’ve made 500 x £1,650 for their trouble.

    :/
    MJM

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      • Recent research from of all people Microsoft indicates that there is a reason why the age-old Nigerian Oil Scam, and the “Help, I’m stuck in a foreign country” scams are still current and in use: they’re an idiot filter.

        From the perspective of a scammer, time is money. Having done a spam run, he really only wants to be talking to the absolute knuckle-draggers out there, the people so thick that they actually believe that a prince in an African state needs their help to embezzle money. Wasting time on the slightly more intelligent, who can just about scrape together a little suspicion regarding such things if given time and a run up, is time wasted, time which could have been spent on stupider if less financially well endowed prey.

        Given these constraints, if you wish to make a change for good in the world then always answer these scams and keep the criminal muppet on the far end talking for a while. Make them work, waste their time a bit before you let them down gently. You might even get this good at it:

        http://www.scamorama.com/mallory-head2.html

        I look forwards to the tale of Leggy, the unfortunately self-aware computer program who whilst he has no assets of his own, is very good friends with the University finance computer and could definitely help out the scammer, for a little quid pro quo…

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  2. I received a very convincing one. A friend’s email address had been hacked and ‘he’ said he was in Spain and had lost his wallet and if everyone could send him just £100 each (or whatever it was; not that much), he could get his bills paid and back home.

    What made it convincing was that a couple of years previously, he had flown to Germany for a football tournament and lost his wallet and his friends on the plane chipped in and gave him a wad to get by on.

    It also raised alarm bells because he’s not the sort of person to be that careless twice. If it hadn’t been for that, I might have transferred the money. Instead, I emailed him saying, “I assume you’ve been hacked”, which he had been.

    ———–

    There’s quite a clever scam where a “Window’s engineer” (with an Indian accent) phones you to say your PC has a virus and you are compromising the PCs of other internet users and he will help you get rid of it. I played along with it for a while to see where it was leading. He showed me how to reach a part of the hard drive that shows it has a long list of potentially dangerous things on it, which did worry me (but which is apparently normal on every PC) – but the game was over when he wanted to take me to a website which would have given him virtual control of my PC, which is, of course, where he either:

    a) Steals whatever credit card info, etc., he can or,

    b) Fixes the ‘faults’ and issues me with an enormous bill.

    I have read both accounts having happened.

    ————

    I like to know things. I’ve been plagued for a year or more with phone calls for the “Windows Scrappage Scheme”. (I spoke to a man at the Scottish ‘Government’ and he said most of these ‘schemes’ are industry ones, not governmental, so they add on a few thousand to the price so they can knock it back off again for scrapping your old windows. It’s usually someone with a horrible West of Scotland accent (where I’m from).

    When you ask the name of the company, they either insist it’s the generic made-up name they gave at the start (‘greener, brighter eco-future’ or whatever) or hang up on you, so I knew I had to arrange an appointment to find out who the company is so I could report them to the ICO.

    It was Weatherseal. Well-known nuisance callers for many years. That’s why I said the other day that the TPS are useless, so I am going to use the recorded phone calls to encourage the ICO to take action. They can dish out six-figure fines. Trying to get to grips with video editing software for uploading to YouTube too. Can’t work out yet how to mute someone’s name (and my address).

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  3. Hope I get one if those emails from my brother. The reply would be: Dozy sod. We’ve bailed you out of the shit so many times now, this one you can sort out yourself. Either start walking or go and join the Russian rebels, I don’t care which.

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  4. These scams are frightening. Some old dear round my way, has had her life savings taken. A work colleague lost £800 to some telephone conman, posing as her bank. A male friend of mine, who should have known better, sent £300 electronically to a beautiful looking girl he met online, but never heard from again. I could go on….

    I’m only surprised that I haven’t fallen for something similar, as I’m not that mentally sharp these days.

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    • For someone elderly just getting to grips with the Internet they can be very nasty indeed. No different, really, to the shysters who seek out the old guy living alone, tell him there’s something wrong with his roof and then charge him thousands to do nothing to it at all.

      We really should have a police force willing to report ‘the criminal met with a terrible accident that resulted in his being cut off at the knees and then standing in a bucket of salt. Foul play is not suspected’.

      That would reduce the incidence of such problems and free up valuable police time for chasing people who say things on Twitter and prosecuting pubs whose smoking shelters are 51% enclosed.

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  5. Not had one of those. I have been contacted by a Deputy Director of the FBI several times about my ATM card and the money on it; by Ban Ki Moon himself a few times about my funding; by the heads of departments of several African banks; by several people in China holding funds for dead men with my surname and I’ve even had two actual paper letters arrive too. I must be worth about 100 million squid at last count. Oh yes, a couple of African barristers have contacted me too with contact names to obtain my funding or my dead relative’s legacy or to split 15 million dollars they have lying in the famous dormant account. However, this is a bit of a problem moving the money apparently. Funny how you find you have dead relatives you never knew about. A bit like you in that particular case. But having a mate like Banky Moon is great. My social circle has expanded now I’m hob nobbing with senior UN personnel.

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