|There are a lot of scams out there on the internet, and most are pretty easy to pick, but I got a beauty today, and it's blog related. I have been following and communicating with Julie in Japan at MyQuiltDiary for quite a while, and today I got an email from her, which is not unusual. What was unusual was the content. Here's what it said:|
Just hoping this email reaches you well, I'm sorry for this emergency and for not informing you about my urgent trip to Madrid - Spain but I just have to let you know my present predicament. Everything was fine until I was attacked on my way back to the hotel, I wasn't hurt but I lost my money, bank cards, mobile phone and my bag in the course of this attack. I immediately contacted my bank in order to block my cards and also made a report at the nearest police station. I've been to the embassy and they are helping me with my documentation so i can fly out but I'm urgently in need of some money to pay for my hotel bills and my flight ticket home, will definitely REFUND as soon as back home.
Kindly let me know if you would be able to help me out so I can forward you the details required for a wire transfer.
waiting to hear back from you..
Well. It's a personal(ish) email, it's from Julie's email. It's not just asking for money straight away, or sending bank details or a dodgy link. It's inviting me to email her back so I can verify it's from Julie. Here's the questions though...
Julie has made an unscheduled trip to Madrid? Why? She's an American scout-leader in her 70s, living in Japan with four children and numerous grandchildren. Why would she go to Madrid?
Given that she has grown up children, why would she ask ME for money?
Julie's account has obviously been hacked. A quick google of some key phrases in quote marks like "urgent trip to Madrid" reveals for sure that it's a hoax. The hacking doesn't pass the suspicious Laura test, but I'm aware that there are a lot of people who might take it at face value.
So, if I email Julie back, the hackers are going to contact me and or focus on my email account next. So I can't do that. Her blog is linked to her email, so anyone who has commented on her blog is likely to have received and email. I've left a comment, but Julie is possibly locked out of her own email. So I've tried Facebook.
This sort of hack means possibly having to change your email account. Which sucks. My impression is that older accounts like yahoo ones can be harder to protect and get back into than gmail accounts. I may be wrong, it may be gmail's advertising, but that's what I think. So what else can you do?
There are some suggestions here about how to protect your email.
I also very strongly advise that before responding to or forwarding any weird emails, that you google key terms within "" marks to see if there are reports of them. You'll usually find it if it's a scam. You can also check them in anti-hoax sites - there are a heap online.
Hope this is useful, and hope no one replies to that email!