Same old scam all over again..
A few years back, my wife told me about her boss who seemingly got robbed and stranded somewhere in the US and left with nothing (although, in reality, she was actually in the comfort of her home in Kajang). And her “boss” somehow managed to get an access to the Internet and later emailed everybody in her mailing list to explain her dire situation and asked for money to help her settle hotel bills and a flight ticket to go home.
Sounds familiar? Yes, even then, almost everybody I know would immediately see through this con. It is one of the oldest phishing trick. And yet, people got conned into sending their money to the “victim”, time and time again. I guess our compassion sometimes clouded our better judgment. Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to double check with others? Say.. like her colleagues? Or call her house just to make sure she’s really away to the US?
Well, we can play the blame game till kingdom come, but you can’t really blame those who sent their monies over. The content of the email was actually pretty convincing and nobody would think twice of departing with some dough they have after imagining the hellish situation the “victim” must have suffered in a foreign land.
Years passed and I thought the world is moving towards more complicated phishing. Clearly I am no clairvoyant. Two days ago, I received a Gmail email from a former lecturer of mine saying..
How are you doing? Hope all is well with you, I know this might be a surprise to you but I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to Scotland for a Seminar.
I was robbed on my way to the hotel and I lost wallet and other valuable things, I am accessing my email from the internet cafe now, and I have limited access to the internet, I will like you to assist with the sum of €1500 Euro to sort-out my hotel bills in which I promise to refund immediately I return home.
I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with. you can help me send the money via western union to be details below:
Name: xxxxxx xxxxx
Address: 101 Broughty Ferry Rd
Zip code : DD4 6JE
State : Scotland
Country: United Kingdom
Kindly get back to me with the transfer details as soon as the transfer is complete.
I don’t have to double check the claims as per stated in the email. The Dr. XXXXXX I know is not as clueless. Of course, she doesn’t speak Scottish, but it is hard to believe she couldn’t get any assistance from the police or any form of authority in Dundee to make phone calls to Malaysia. This is clearly a phishing scam!
It so happens that I don’t have her contact number so I contacted her colleagues and explained the situation to them. I asked them to tell Dr. XXXXXX to immediately lodge a report to Gmail administrators in order to regain control over her Gmail account. And the first thing she should do afterward is to email everyone in her mailing list and refute the one sent earlier by the hacker.
Remember to do the same if this happens to you and people you know.
I suppose some of you may be asking, how the hell she got her Gmail hacked in the first place? Now that, my friends, is another story. We’ll get to that in my next posting, insyaAllah.
Until then, safe surfing!