Herewith the text of an email I received today:
How are you doing? hope all is well with you ,i am sorry that i did not inform you about my traveling to England for a program called empowering youth to fight racism,Hiv/Aids,and lack of education.
I need a favor from you as soon as you receive this e-mail because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money, and other valuable things were kept i will like you to assist me with a soft loan of $2,500 US Dollars urgently to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.
I will appreciate whatever you can afford to loan me now, i'll pay you back as soon as i return,Kindly let me know if you can be of help? so that i will send you the details to use when sending the money through western union.
I await to read from you.
Best of regards,
Since the title of the email was I NEED YOUR HELP ASAP, I was immediately on alert. My friend Louisa Mae (please note that while I have changed my friend's name to protect her, she always used her given first and middle name) was in trouble? She needed money? From me?
Wait. . .a. . .minute. First, what about her somewhat well-to-do mother? Would she not have helped her daughter?
Second, what about all those grammatical errors--my friend is meticulous to a fault. She would never have sent such a sloppily written email. She even capitalizes all her initial letters, always. No lower case "i" for her. And "I await to read from you"?
Third, "Best of regards"? Who signs anything that way?
And fourth, Louisa? She always goes by Louisa Mae. So, just who was Louisa really?
I picked up the phone, and called the office where my friend works. A pleasant voice answered--is Louisa Mae there, I asked? Well, she is, but she's on the other line. Oh, I said, she's not out of the country? Not in England? No, came the answer, but I can put you into her voice mail.
I sensed an old email scam--maybe even originating in Nigeria. So I hit "reply all" and sent out a cautionary note--DO NOT ANSWER THAT EMAIL. It's a scam.
So, let the lender (would-be, of course) beware.