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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. James Carroll May 9, 2012

    Today I received a similar email from an associate of mine. her email address is [email protected], and the email I received came from [email protected]. So, was it my account or hers that was compromised?

    If my friend’s account was compromised, what advice can I give to fix and prevent it?

    Thanks!

  2. kim May 17, 2012

    My yahoo e-mail got hacked and send it out to all my friends this e-mail.((Hope you get on time,I made a trip to Swansea,wales and had my bag stolen from me with mypassport and credit cards in it.The embassy is willing to help by leting me fly with out passport.I just have to pay for a tiket and settle hotel bills.unfortunately for me,I can’t have acces to funds without 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 soon as I get in.I realy need to be on the next available flight. )) Western Union transfer is the best option tosend money to me.Let me know if you need my datails.( full names/location) to make the transfer. You can reach me via email or the hotel’s desk phone the numbers are, +447031804805 +447031804806

  3. chris June 5, 2012

    In Italian:

    Mi auguro di poterci trovare questa volta, Io ho fatto un viaggio a Londra, UK e mi hanno rubato la mia borsa con il passaporto e gli affetti personali. L’ambasciata mi ha solo rilasciato un passaporto temporaneo ma Io devo pagare il biglietto e saldare le fatture alberghiere. Io ho fatto contattare la noia banca ma mi ci vorrebbero 5 giorni lavorativi per accedere ai fondi nel conto da Londra.

    Western Union transfer è la migliore opzione per inviarmi denaro. Fammi sapere se hai bisogno dei miei dati (nome completo/località) per fare il trasferimento. Puoi raggiungermi via email o telefono Blue Island Hotel +447024030611.

    Fammi sapere se puoi essere d’aiuto.

  4. Jackson June 8, 2012

    Just got this phishing email. Almost had me fooled too, until I saw this Website. Thanks for the heads up. I hope these scammers get caught.

  5. Theo June 11, 2012

    Thanks, just received the same message in German, this is obviously a sophisticated scam

  6. Maria Tejeda June 12, 2012

    I received an alert from a friend informing me of this email translated to Spanish. All my contacts were deleted as well as all the messages that I had received for the past 2 years. I contacted Yahoo to see if they can restore my contacts. I immediately changed my password.

  7. Jeffrey June 14, 2012

    Questions: Is there any way not only to ignore the endless unsolicited phishing spam passively, but also to block the hi-jacked email actively, yet let other emails from same friend get through? Notify friend being hi-jacked will be a hassle since there are multiple incidences one after another. On the other end, how do we know ourselves if this hacker had sent cheating email using our names to others?

  8. Bridget June 26, 2012

    i got hacked on 26/6/12. this is copy

    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 response…

  9. Niki June 27, 2012

    I got this one in German this morning:

    lch hoffe du hast dies schnell erhalten, ich bin nach Edinburgh, 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.

  10. San June 30, 2012

    today my dad’s hotmail account got hacked and password changed… now he cannot recover the id… he is locked out!

    the following msg was sent to all his contacts…

    Hi,

    I know this is very sudden and a lot to ask for but i am in a serious fix and in need of your help. I made a quick trip to Scotland and just last night my bag containing my phone, money and some personal stuff got stolen. My bank card is missing and I can’t access the ATM as planned. I contacted the bank to report the theft but It would take 3-5 working days to retrieve my bank cards. Please can I get a loan for $1850.00 or whatever amount if not all to cover my expenses? You’ll have it as soon as I get home next week. Please let me know if you can help so I tell you how to get it across to me.

    Thanks

  11. Crazy Horse August 11, 2012

    I have received this same email about the “Swansea” hotel bit, early this morning and did a little digging and came up with this site. I did fraud investigations for nearly five years and this message sent up immediate red flags.

    James, the best way to handle this is to instantly change your password settings and set up a linked account with a trusted and secure e-mail provider. There is a possibility that both accounts have been compromised—-but you can contact Yahoo! and set up a set of fraud filters to help the two of you out.

    Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Aho!

  12. Catalina August 25, 2012

    I have received it in Spanish!

    Espero que esto te llegue a tiempo, hice un viaje a Edimburgo, Reino Unido y se me fue robado el bolso con mi Pasaporte Internacional, Tarjetas de Crédito dentro. La Embajada está deseando ayudarme con dejarme tomar un vuelo sin mi Pasaporte, solo que tengo que pagar por el billete y cubrir las cuentas del Hotel. Para mi desgracia, no puedo acceder a mis fondos sin las tarjetas de crédito, ya contacte con mi Banco pero necesitan más tiempo para los procesos y así conseguirme uno nuevo. En esa inoportuna situación he pensado en pedirte un préstamo rápido de fondo que puedo devolverte tan pronto que regrese. Realmente necesito estar en el próximo vuelo.
    Puedo enviarte los detalles en cómo hacer llegar los fondos a mí. Puedes localizarme por correo o en la recepción Blue Island Hotel, los números son, +447031804805 o +447031804806.

    Espero ansiosamente tu respuesta.

  13. Patricia Moses December 10, 2012

    I was notified from other Queensland Garden Club’s that this email was sent from me and from my club, Buderim Garden Club. Have notified the police. Changed password.

  14. Johannes January 18, 2013

    same here, in german, there is a live guy behind this trying to convince me, but obviously he does not want to get on the phone ..
    Thanks for this site ..

  15. Margaux January 25, 2013

    I received this from an Italian friend’s e-mail address [email protected]. There was no warning but I found it strange that it was addressed to Undisclosed Recipients. I immediately contacted him and he was already aware that his account had been hacked into.

    The e-mail says he had been on a trip to London and had had his bag with his passport and personal belongings stolen and that the Embassy had only left him a temporary passport, that he has to pay his ticket home and pay the hotel bill.

    An airline will usually replace a lost ticket and since most people buy their tickets on Internet they would only have to print it out again. Also, having had my passport stolen abroad I went to the Embassy and got a new passport the same day.

    In the e-mail the person says to let him know if you need his full name, we usually know our friends’ full names.

    He says he’s at the Blue Island Hotel. There is no Blue Island Hotel in London. He gives the number of the supposed hotel but the number starts with 070 which is a mobile phone (+44 70 if dialling from abroad).

    Mi auguro di poterci trovare questa volta, Io ho fatto un viaggio a Londra, UK e mi hanno rubato la mia borsa con il passaporto e gli affetti personali. L’ambasciata mi ha solo rilasciato un passaporto temporaneo ma Io devo pagare il biglietto e saldare le fatture alberghiere. Io ho fatto contattare la noia banca ma mi ci vorrebbero 5 giorni lavorativi per accedere ai fondi nel conto da Londra.

    Western Union transfer è la migliore opzione per inviarmi denaro. Fammi sapere se hai bisogno dei miei dati (nome completo/località) per fare il trasferimento. Puoi raggiungermi via email o telefono Blue Island Hotel +447024030611

    Fammi sapere se puoi essere d’aiuto.

  16. paola January 28, 2013

    I received the same italian mail of Chris (above), I got suspicious because it had many mistakes and a way of writing my friend would never use, than, at a more careful look, also her e-mail address has been distorted.
    I was just curious to see what happens when you do call that number … maybe I will try, just for the fun.

  17. Rene Smythe May 4, 2013

    I received this yesterday purporting to be someone I know who is a ham operator – they had his first and last name:
    I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about my trip, because it was impromptu. I had to be in Bacolod City, Philippines for a program. The program was successful, but my journey has turned sour. I misplaced my wallet and cell phone on my way back to the hotel i lodge in after i went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables things i have. Now, my passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when i make payment.

    I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a loan of $2,300 USD from you. 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 I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest. Thanks so much..

    Thanks.

    Joseph

    I sent Joe an email and he responded that he’s in the middle of a SCAM and not abroad.

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