The day before yesterday, I received a rather disturbing email from a friend of mine (or so I thought). His email address seemed legitimate (it was an AOL account), and the message was quite convincing:
Subject ..... (friend’s name)
I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. We had to be in Philippines for a Tour..the program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. We misplaced our wallets and cell phones on our way back to the hotel after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contains all the valuables we have. Now, our luggage is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.
I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but I have only very few people to turn to now. I will be very grateful if I can get a short term loan of ($2,450) from you. This will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford at this moment. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. Please let me know if you can be of any assistance.
It was quite tempting to at least email my friend and ask if this really was true. But the request for money is always a red flag.
Then, the clincher … I got another email a few minutes later, with the identical message, from a person I didn’t know.
You gotta be really careful these days! I kid you not.