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Phishing email: The friend needing help

19
May
2011

An example of a phishing email I received today, which at first glance appeared to be a legitimate email from a friend, except for a Gmail warning at the top:

The text reads:

Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can’t have access to funds without my credit card, I’ve made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in. I really need to be on the next available flight. I can forward you details on how you can get the funds to me. You can reach me via email or on Blue Island hotel front desk phone, the numbers are, +447031804805 or +447031804806.
I await your response..

Fortunately, my Gmail provided this warning at the top, or I might have been more prone to believe that it actually came from my friend (and would have wasted time emailing her or calling mutual friends to confirm her location):

Warning: The content of this message is suspicious. The sender’s account may be compromised. Beware of following links or of providing the sender with any personal information. Ignore, I trust this message  Learn more.

Be careful out there. “The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches.” ~Miguel de Unamuno (Spanish author and philosopher, 1864-1936)

Update: Following is another variant of this scam email. Beware!:

Apologies for having to reach out to you like this, I made a trip early this week to London, UK and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can’t have access to funds without my credit card, I’ve made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in. I really need to be on the next available flight. I can forward you details on how you can get the funds to me. You can reach me via email or May field hotel’s desk phone, the numbers are, +447031804805 or +447031804806

I misplaced my wallet and other valuables on my way to the hotel I lodged. I would have called you but there is no phone on me and I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library (and I only have 15mins in every 2hours to access my email from here). I have no funds on me because I had to block my account immediately the incident happened, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me to clear my Hotel bill and other expenses. Please I will like you to assist me with a soft loan of €2,600 Euro ($3,700 USD) or any amount you could afford to sort-out my hotel bills first and to get myself back home. I have reported the case to the embassy here and they are going through the necessary procedures but I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with and I’ll refund you the money as soon as I return. Please let me know if you could help me with the total sum or any amount you can afford.

I await your reply immediately so I can email you will need to help.

Hello,

How are you, I hope everything is fine?. I’m so sorry I did not inform you about my trip to Spain; it was imprompt and personal. Presently, I will be glad if I could confide in you and I want this issue to be confidential between You and I because I don’t want people to get worried about my situation. I’m presently in Valencia (Spain) for a seminar and to complete a project, but am having some problems here. 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 misplaced my wallet, mobile phone and other valuables on my way to the hotel I lodged. I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library (and I only have 15mins in every 2hours to access my email from here), I had to block my account and my bank cards immediately the incident happened., I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me to clear my Hotel bill and other expenses. Please I will like you to assist me with a loan of €2,600 Euro ($3,700 USD) or any amount you could afford to sort-out my hotel bills first and to get myself back home. I have reported the case to the embassy here and they are going through the necessary procedures but I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with and I’ll refund you the money as soon as I return. Please let me know if you could help me with the total sum or any amount you can afford.

I await your reply immediately so I can email you will need to help.

Thanks.

 

If you get such email, just ignore it. Stay away from this scam.

  1. ronnie September 14, 2011

    i received this email from my mother whom appearently got hacked on Facebook. I received a post from my sister with a video attached stating “Mom you look stupid int this video, WTF?” and since my sister is a film student who always post videos i clicked on it but nothing happened. That video went out to all my friends and some how wipped out my moms contact info and files. I called the number but it doesnt take block numbers and when i asked the operator where this number is from she said London, England.Hmm?? my friend (my Mom) is in Aberdeen, Scottland! Im sick and tired of being (trying to be) scammed. What is this world comming to?? Hackers and Scammers this is for you: There is no such thing as fast and easy money without being caught! Idle hands are the devils work! Get UP and OFF UR ASS and GET an FN JOB!!

  2. Laszlo September 26, 2011

    I just received the same email in GERMAN language. What was suspect: there was an error in the e-mail address of my friend. I called back to the given phone number, it did not work. But they replied to my email in quite good German twice. So I called to the German Consul in Aberdeen. He is not in his office. It’s clear: it’s phishing.

  3. Steve October 25, 2011

    Just got this a few moments ago…

    Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 12:39 PM
    Subject: Re: Hi

    You can have the funds sent at any Western Union agent location.Here are the details you will need;Kristin Whitmire,1bs wind street,SwanseaSA1 1EPWales.Keep me posted,Thanks.

    What a geezer!

  4. tracer November 10, 2011

    i did a trace of the mail and i find out it is comeing from afrika

    IP: 115.178.12.197 [DNS] – [Tracert]
    Domain: nm5-vm0.bullet.mail.sg1.yahoo.com [Whois]
    Country: AP – Asia/Pacific Region State/Region:
    City:

    IP: 41.155.34.195 [DNS] – [Tracert]
    Domain: dial-pool34.lg.starcomms.net [Whois]
    Country: NG – Nigeria
    State/Region: Lagos
    City: Lagos

  5. DPC November 11, 2011

    Hi tracer! Many thanks for the report. 🙂

  6. DIJW November 29, 2011

    All – I got a call from my friend who received the same email at 1:30AM today 11/29/11 – she called to check as she couldn’t believe I’d solicit funds via email and she was concerned. Prior to calling me, she received an email back saying that “I” was in the library, using their computer and the contact numbers in the email weren’t currently working, but they’d send her additional info re wiring funds through “Western Union”.
    My contact list was used and everyone got the email – all contacts have been wiped out, as well as all the emails I ever received and sent. Currently my email is “locked” and I cannot get into it to change the password.
    From my work email, I immediately sent all the info etc to yahoo.abuse (& ATT) – they’re investigating. What to do from here?

    Are there any additional repercussions that we need to be aware of? I’m pretty PO’d about it all!

  7. Rosmizi December 14, 2011

    I also just been the victim of this evil email. All contact list, contents, documents save in email have been wipe out! Does anyone know how to get back all those information. Some of them are really2 important… Please help us!!! They use Yahoo log and states that there are two emails that cannot be displayed. To see those emails, we are required to reenter the password….! don’t enter your password! it is a disaster!… Just wonder how to get back the contact list and the contents of my email 🙁

  8. Dieter December 30, 2011

    AND, THIS WAS SENT, WITH ref HALLO
    > lch hoffe du hast dies schnell erhalten,ich bin nach Madrid, Spanien
    > verreist und habe meine Tasche verloren samt Reispass und Kreditkarte.
    > Die Botschaft ist bereit, mich ohne meinen Pass fliegen zu lassen.Ich muss nur noch für mein
    > Ticket und die Hotelrechnungen zahlen.Leider habe ich kein Geld
    > dabei,meine Kreditkarte könnte helfen aberdie ist auch in der Tasche.Ich habe schon Kontakt mit meiner Bank aufgenommen , aber sie brauchen mehr Zeit, um mir eine neue zu schicken. Ich wollte dich fragen ob du mir ein bisschen Geld so schnell wie möglich leihen kannst. Ich gebe es dir zurück sobald ich da bin. Ich muss unbedingt den nächsten Flug bekommen.Ich kann die die Details schicken wie du mir das Geld zukommen lassen kannst. Du kannst mich per e-
    > mail erreichen oder an der Rezeption des Blue Island hotels,
    > die Telefonnummern sind +34632256302 .
    >
    > Ich warte auf deine Antwort,
    >
    > Dieter Haring.

    now, does this……. wait to call this Tel# of a hotel, that does NOT exist…?

  9. k. January 8, 2012

    this blue island hotel madrid thing happened here too! the origin came from a ‘Yahoo Undelivered Messages’ email with a link that asked for my password! then everything was gone, they changed the return address and some of my friends lost money on this one! the Yahoo spam filter did not sort this message and the spammers use the Yahoo logo too!

  10. Carrie Fischer January 13, 2012

    My accounts and website got hacked into last Thursday. Sending people massive e-mails, etc… I was getting so much hate mail.stoled all my contacts. Tuesday This scam began
    Subject: Hi

    Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Swansea,Wales and had my bag
    stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is
    willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to
    pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills.

    Unfortunately for me, I can’t have access to funds without my credit
    card, I’ve made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up
    with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick
    funds that I can give back as soon as I
    get in. I really need to be on the next available flight. I can forward
    you details on how you can get the funds to me. You can reach me via
    email or on Blue Island hotel front desk phone, the numbers are,
    +447031804805 or +447031804806. I await your respo
    They are sending this letter out to all my contacts.
    This scam looks like its been going on for some time, I had a few friends ready to send the money. How can you stop these people??
    I hope no one gives into this, Thats why I love reviews!!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Carrie Fischer

    :

  11. Sara Régia Sena Leite January 13, 2012

    I just received this email and I got shocked about it… Fortunately good people create sites like this to advertise others about those criminal actions. |Thanks a lot. Greetings from Brazil!

  12. Carolyn Rudolph January 23, 2012

    I just got the identical scam from “Swansea Wales” but everything else is the same and the Blue Island Hotel and the numbers.
    I called my friend who was in bed at home in KY.
    Is my email compromised? or is his or both?

  13. Rainer January 28, 2012

    It looks like the phishing grounds are changing over to Germany now. They hacked the yahoo email account of a friend of mine, mailed the same message in German language to all addresses from his address directory. At a glance the message looked written in good German language but only to a foreigner – not to native speakers 🙂
    Also the complete content of the email account ist erased like reported already here.
    The first thing I did has been to call him and I found him at home.
    My next action has been to inform our police via the Police Online Station for the incident to support prevention.
    To my friend I recommended no longer to use Yahoo for email because it is known Yahoo accounts are not save enough. There are better providers.

  14. Paul February 7, 2012

    And this to my E-Mail yesterday with Subject ‘Hello’.

    lch hoffe du hast dies schnell erhalten,ich bin nach Aberdeen, Schottland
    verreist und habe meine Tasche verloren samt Reispass und Kreditkarte.
    Die Botschaft ist bereit, mich ohne meinen Pass fliegen zu lassen.Ich muss nur noch für mein
    Ticket und die Hotelrechnungen zahlen.Leider habe ich kein Geld
    dabei,meine Kreditkarte könnte helfen aberdie ist auch in der Tasche.Ich habe schon Kontakt mit meiner Bank aufgenommen , aber sie brauchen mehr Zeit, um mir eine neue zu schicken. Ich wollte dich fragen ob du mir ein bisschen Geld so schnell wie möglich leihen kannst. Ich gebe es dir zurück sobald ich da bin. Ich muss unbedingt den nächsten Flug bekommen.Ich kann die die Details schicken wie du mir das Geld zukommen lassen kannst. Du kannst mich per e-mail erreichen oder an der Rezeption des Blue Island hotels,
    die Telefonnummern sind +447024029894 oder +447024030611.

    Ich warte auf deine Antwort.
    Because I’m not used to be adressd by the person, which sent me the E-Mail, by first name, I was suspicious.

  15. elke February 23, 2012

    lch hoffe du hast dies schnell erhalten, ich bin nach Aberdeen, Schottland verreist und habe meine Tasche verloren samt Reispass und kreditkarte. Die botschaft ist bereit, mich ohne meinen Pass fliegen zu lassen. Ich muss nur noch für mein ticket und die hotelrechnungen zahlen. Leider habe ich kein Geld dabei, meine kredit karte könnte helfen aber die ist auch in der Tasche. Ich habe schon kontakt mit meiner Bank aufgenommen, aber sie brauchen mehr zeit, um mir eine neue zu schicken. Ich wollte dich fragen ob du mir ein bisschen Geld so schnell wie möglich leihen kannst. Ich gebe es dir zurück sobald ich da bin. Ich muss unbedingt den nächsten Flug bekommen.
    Ich kann die die Details schicken wie du mir das Geld zukommen lassen kannst. Du kannst mich per e-mail erreichen oder an der rezeption des Blue Island hotels, die Telefonnummern sind +447024029894 oder +447024030611. Ich erwarte Ihre Antwort.

    ———-
    We received it today 22.2.2012

  16. Eric Tan February 28, 2012

    Thanks for all the sharing on this scammer from “Nigeria”. I just got mine hijacked. I am wondering how they find out the password. I immediately change my password when I realize my account was compromised, but it seem that the gang can still access my account. I suspend it is the pop up that ask us to re-enter the password. Any security expert here that can advise? The pop up look genuine Yahoo with all the logo. Yahoo should help by telling us the log in process and sequence.

  17. alwaystexan March 2, 2012

    I got a similar email from a friend who has a yahoo account – the message said she was in Spain and had her passport and personal effects stolen. …asked me for help – but didn’t ask for money. Since I know she is retired –
    I thought MAYBE she was in Spain – but the email said she was at a ‘conference’ and I doubted that.

    Luckily my response to her through another email was to give her contact information for the American Embassy –
    🙂
    I didn’t even think about money!!!

    I got another email similar supposedly from a cousin – which did ask for money.

    I did change my email password consequently –

    I also ran avg antivirus, webroot and malwarebytes –

    btw: the FBI has a ‘cyber security’ office to which you can report internet fraud and scams.

    I did that, too!

    http://www.fbi.gov

    > scams and safety

    http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx = sca,s and

    and – once months ago my emails and info were wiped out –
    but having an msn account –
    I contacted them and they explained to me how to reset everything –
    and miraculously – everything was replaced!

    I do hope the FBI catches these people!
    I sent them the messages with the headers intact – hoping they could trace the sender –

  18. Jullie March 3, 2012

    I received almost identical e-mail from a jocyln that she is having problems in Wales at the blue island hotel with same contact numbers. There is no such hotel and a red flag went off with the wording that was used.
    I an unable to copy and paste but could forward it, if wanted. Thanks for the resources provided in this web site.

  19. Tom March 13, 2012

    I received one of these Scotland e-mails a few days ago. Contacted my correspondent to advise that she had been hacked, provided message along with complete header info and urged her to report fraud attempt to RCMP. This is clearly a criminal matter, not merely an annoying scam, and should be dealt with accordingly.

  20. Serge Oberlindes March 19, 2012

    This was sent from my wife’s yahoo account about 8 hours ago. Her password was changed about 20 minutes before the email was sent.

    ******************

    I am out of the country,in Madrid Spain at the moment, I am here for a conference and I just had my bag stolen from me with my passport and personal effects. I have been trying to sort things out with the necessary authorities, I need some assistance from you.

    Let me know if you can be of any help.

    [signed with my wife’s usual signature and tagline]

  21. kath hazel April 2, 2012

    received the same email from a “friend” 6 hours ago. this mail is without hotel name, though.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Swansea, Wales and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can’t have access to funds without my credit card, I’ve made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in. I really need to be on the next available flight.

    Western Union transfer is the best option to send money to me. Let me know if you need my details(Full names/location) to make the transfer. You can reach me via email or the hotel’s desk phone the numbers are, +447031804805 or +447031804806.

    I await your response…
    (trademark signature)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  22. kath hazel April 2, 2012

    received the same email from a “friend” 6 hours ago. this mail is without hotel name, though.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Swansea, Wales and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can’t have access to funds without my credit card, I’ve made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in. I really need to be on the next available flight.

    Western Union transfer is the best option to send money to me. Let me know if you need my details(Full names/location) to make the transfer. You can reach me via email or the hotel’s desk phone the numbers are, +447031804805 or +447031804806.

    I await your response…
    (friend’s signature and tagline)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  23. P Blaizot April 23, 2012

    This is what Ijust received, just glad I saw the warnings.

    Thanks for your response can you lend me $3500 to cover my expenses and get a flight ticket,you can have the funds sent via Western Union is the most convenient means for me to receive funds at this time.You can reach me with the hotel desk phone number i send to you also via my email.I don’t have any direct phone number you can reach me on except for the hotel desk phone number.Here is the number again +447024017746

    You might need to locate an office to get it done and they accept cash only. Let me know if it works for you.

    Here is my information to use for the transfer.

    Name: Baosheng Xu
    Address: 33 Queens Road
    CITY: Aberdeen
    COUNTRY: Scotland
    ZIPCODE: SA11EP

    Once you are able to made the payment, send me the following details.

    Sender’s Full name:
    Amount sent:
    The MTCN number which will be on the western union form:

    This information’s will enable me to pick up the money, and I promise to pay you back as soon as i get back home..

    Best regard,
    Baosheng

  24. Tod Blatherton April 24, 2012

    I received this message from a yahoo email account. I tried, unsuccessfully, to notify yahoo about this abuse. At yahoo’s website, they say the following:

    If you have received an email from a Yahoo! Mail user that you believe violates the Yahoo! Mail Terms of Service, please click Contact Yahoo! on this page. When you contact us, please include the following information to help us with our investigation:
    1.The original subject line of the email, and the text of the email message.
    2.The email’s complete headers.

    So I clicked Contact Yahoo and, after entering the following …

    Select a product: Mail
    Select a version: Mail
    Select a category: Abuse and spam
    Select a sub-category: suspicious email asking for money
    Write a short description: reporting email abuse

    … they don’t bother asking for any info about the message! Instead, they just say “use your email provider’s spam button” to report the problem, but my provider doesn’t have one!

    YAHOO GIVES GOOD LIP SERVICE, BUT ISN’T SERIOUS ABOUT PREVENTING ABUSE

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