Monday, October 27, 2008

Caveat creditor*

*My loose translation. . .let the lender beware (using caveat emptor as my guide).

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.


Mary C said...

Good for you, Donna, for what you did. I'm glad you were suspicious; I've received a couple of those stupid emails (even at work) that request monetary help. They are nothing but junk mail. But the fact that you did a reply to all -- I think that's a great idea. The only downside is that you may get more of these now because it is known that your email address is *live* and valid.

Beth said...

This is truly frightening--do you think they knew that you had a friend named Louisa from your e-mail? Sometimes I get spam that is from a name that is almost familiar and that makes me wonder.

Jayne said...

I get these constantly from a supposed person in England, Nigeria, etc. It always amazes me that they are so presumptuously written. Glad you were able to confirm it was not your friend. Louisa isn't exactly a common name. :c)

KGMom said...

The thing that was different about this email than the usual money request from somewhere in Nig*ria is that it WAS my friend's name and her email address that was used.
This was no ORDINARY spam--I had every reason to believe it was from my friend.
The money requests come from Rev. So and So. . .or Prince someone or other. These would be names I do not know.
However, Louisa Mae (remember, it's a pseudonym) is someone I know!
So, I reiterate the caution.

NCmountainwoman said...

How very frightening! To think that someone has access to enough information to create such an email is downright scary.

RuthieJ said...

I sometimes get notes like this too and just delete them. But it always makes me wonder if there are people who actually send them money??

Dog_geek said...

Yikes, - scary that it was her name and email address, sent to her friends (I wonder if they accessed her email address book?) I'm glad that you figured out the scam so quickly. Your friend should probably have her computer scanned for viruses, and she should probably change all her passwords.

JeanMac said...

Very frightening.

Anvilcloud said...

Dagnabbit. Can't find a typo.

Michele Wassell said...

I am so glad you were cautious... It's amazing what comes across-all the scams.. Anymore, you just don't know... Enjoyed going through your blog.. Quite interesting.. :)

KGMom said...

AC--you could have taken me to task for my initial stab at Latin. I have now edited my title, so it is closer to "correct." I took Latin, 4 years, but remember VERY little.

Michele--welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

To all--yes, the email came (supposedly) from my friend, her name, her email address. It was only the content that tipped me off.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I get those letter regularly, not only from Nigeria but also Chad and Niger, requesting assistance to help some African nobleman's son or politician rescue his millions from that far off land. if they only knew I couldn't lone them enough to take a bus to Toronto. "Delete".

I love the reference to a "soft loan". What is that. I suppose it is one you do not have to pay back.

Climenheise said...

The fact that the sender and email were known to you is troubling, since it indicates a kind of sophistication missing from the usual Nigerian send me your money scam. I'm glad you saw through it, and appreciate the heads up to be aware of such possibilities. I suppose any email simply asking for money requires some kind of confirmation by phone or otherwise to be sure.

Climenheise said...

P.S.: Are you watching the Phillies?

Mary said...

I've seen these e-mails infrequently and always click "delete". I'm applaud you for replying to all with a warning message.

I wonder how many people respond with a kind-hearted reply?

Mary said...

Teacher? Forgive me? I meant to say "applauding you"... :o)