Recently, I wrote about my friend and her husband, frequent world travelers who seem to be followed (or in some cases preceded) by disaster wherever they go. As I write this, they're in Canada for the Calgary Stampede. As you know--unless you've just arrived from another planet--Calgary was hit by a major flood recently. But this time, the Frequent Flyers of the Apocalypse faced a disaster of another kind.
I found the following email in every one of my seven email accounts a couple of days ago, supposedly from her (the message is included verbatim, typos included):
I Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Manila(Philippines) and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and personal effects therein. The embassy has just issued me a temporary passport but I have to pay for a ticket and settle my hotel bills with the Manager.
I have made contact with my bank but it would take me 3-5 working days to access funds in my account, the bad news is my flight will be leaving very soon but i am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let me leave until i settle the bills, I need your help/LOAN financially and I promise to make the refund once i get back home, you are my last resort and hope, Please let me know if i can count on you and i need you to keep checking your email because it's the only way you can get to me.
Please reply back and let me know if you will be able to loan me the cash so that i can give you the necessary details you will need to get the cash to me via western union money transfer, i promise to pay you back as soon as i get home.
Some of you may have received similar emails that appear to be from people you know in recent months. Most of you have probably heard about it on the news--a scam to get the recipients to send money to help a friend or family member in distress. Some good-hearted people will respond and send money.
In my friend's case, almost everyone who received the message recognized it for what it is. One, alarmed that she might actually be in trouble, momentarily contemplated sending money.
The mess doesn't end there, however. My friend is currently unable to read her email. She was locked out of her account and had to call her internet provider to get her password reset just to get back in. Unfortunately, when she and her husband left for Calgary, she was still unable to view the contents of her account. Whoever hacked into her account did major damage.
I'll be holding my breath until they're back home safely....
PS Don't miss William Kendall's latest post at Speak of the Devil.
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(Also posted at WordPress.)