Appeals for Help from Friends Traveling Abroad are Frauds

I received a message from a well known and respected government employee; she was in Spain and lost all her money and needed me to send her funds as soon as possible. On the surface, an e-mail from a person I know (with an unusual name) sends me a message to my work e-mail address (which she uses) so the message has some credibility.

It was obviously false (see below) and created quite a problem for her because hackers sent e-mails to everyone on her list.  The bottom-line is that fraudulent e-mails are getting more realistic and believable every day.

I previously stated that I was updating bank account information and was ready to hit the “send” button before realizing it was a fraud. It was a perfect replication of the bank’s written correspondence and it fooled someone with decades of criminal justice experience.

Sooner than later, you will start getting e-mails from a family member documenting aspects of your personal life and the e-mail address will be the same as your family member but off by one character and redirected to someone engaged in fraud.

Sooner than later, you will have to stop placing all personal information in e-mails. Goodbye 21st centaury. Hello Ma Bell (there are people right now asking “Who is Ma Bell”)?

Crime in America.Net

Evaluate Appeals for Help from Friends Traveling Abroad with Caution

The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI continues to receive reports of individuals’ e-mail or social networking accounts being compromised and used in a social engineering scam to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars.

Here’s how it works: Hackers infiltrate your social networking page, claim to be you, and write your contacts/friends. They portray themselves as “victims” who were robbed while traveling abroad and state they need money immediately because they don’t have a passport, money, credit cards, or cell phone and are stranded.

Some claim they only have a few days to pay their hotel bill and promise to reimburse costs upon their return home. Recipients may be tempted to respond to these appeals because they appear to be from a friend and there’s a sense of urgency to help.

If you receive a similar notice and aren’t sure if it is a scam, you should always verify the information before sending any money. If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other cyber crime, report it to the IC3 website at

The IC3’s database links complaints for potential referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns.

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