Friday, September 05, 2008

Friend in Trouble Scam

My wife recently got the following email:

PLEASE HELP ME URGENTLY
I am in hurry writing you this short message and I am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling. I traveled to Malaysia and i got my self stranded. I am really stranded in Malaysia because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents, cell phone which i have all my contacts and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I am now owning a hotel bill of $1,200 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to hand me over to the Hotel Management, I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $2,000 to feed and help myself back home. So please can you help me with a sum of $3,200 USD to sort out my problems here. I am sending you this email from the city Library, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home. So please use the details of one of the hotel managers below to transfer the money to me through Western Union money transfer because that is the only way i could be able to get it fast and leave since he has a valid ID to pick up the money for me from the western union. This is the detail below....

Name: Adam Sanchez
Address: 24B Jalan Loke Yew, Bandar Melaka, Malaysia
Text Question: To whom
Answer: Gabrielle

After you have send the money, email to me the western union money transfer control number or you can attach and forward to me the western union money transfer receipt so that i can pick up the money fast and leave. Right now, i dont have any acess to phone communications because the phone in my hotel room had been disconnected due to too much bills imposed on me, i only have acess to the computer at the library where am sending you this email right now.

Hope to hear from you soon. The embassy here has already promised to give me a covering traveling papers that i will need to have my way back home, all i need right now is the money to settle up the bills and leave.

Thanks and get back to me soon.

Sincerely
Gabrielle

Jaru does know Gabrielle (not well enough that she'd be coming to Jaru for help though) and the message appeared to come from her email address (a Hotmail address) -- so perhaps someone broke into Gabrielle's account. You can imagine how distressed Jaru was.

Anyway, the message is a SCAM. You can find a similar message at this link, but set in Nigeria.

You can also find almost the exact same scam if you scroll down into the comments section on this page (quoting here):

Posted by hmorgan on August 13, 2008 at 1:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is an E-mail I received only yesterday

THIS IS A FRAUD but I thought some of you may like to read one of these theving Emails.

(I have have a good friend named Pete Crasher BTW and I did forward this on to him.)

BELOW IS A FRAUD E-mail:

I am in hurry writing you this message and am really sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling to Malaysia for a program called "Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education. The program is taking place in three major countries in Asia, which are Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. It has been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain.

I am really stranded in Malaysia because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents, cell phone which i have all my contacts and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I now owe a hotel bill of $1,400 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon or else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management. I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1,500 to feed and help myself back home. So please can you help me with a sum of $2,900 USD to sort out my problems here? I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here, I don't even have money to feed myself for a day which means i had been starving, so please understand how urgent i need your help.

I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home. So please use the details of one of the hotel managers below to transfer the money to me through Western Union money transfer or money gram because that is the only way i could be able to get it fast and leave since he has a valid ID to pick up the money for me from the western union. This is the detail below....

Name: HENRY MARKTE
Address: 26B Jalan Loke Yew, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Text Question: To whom
Answer: Peter

After you have send the money, email to me the western union money transfer control number or you can attach and forward to me the western union money transfer receipt so that i can pick up the money fast and leave. Right now, i dont have any acess to phone communications because the phone in my hotel room had been disconnected due to too much bills imposed on me, i only have acess to the computer at the library where am sending you this email right now.

Hope to hear from you soon. The embassy here has already promised to give me a covering traveling papers that i will need to have my way back home, all i need right now is the money to settle up the bills and leave.

Thanks and get back to me soon.

Yours,
Pete

THE ABOVE E-MAIL IS FRAUD- DO NOT BITE!


I'm putting all this stuff up here along with the links because one of the best ways to uncover a scam email is to simply copy and paste the text into Google and do a search (that's how I found the above links) -- and I figure a blog post is a good way to get a permanent warning posted to the internet.

11 comments:

Jaime_sama said...

I'm amused that the Big Scary is that the person might be "handed over to Hotel Management." ooooh.

(Sorry, I know it must have been freaky for Jaru, coming from a recognized email address...!)

Jonathan said...

Just got almost exactly the same email last night from my cousin. Only the address was ever so slightly different:

Name: Adam Sanchez
Address: 20B Jalan Loke Yew, Bandar Malaka, Malaysia

Seems like we ought to be able to catch the thief given that we have his address, no?

Anonymous said...

I just got an email that freaked me out as well, until I saw the near identical scam detailed on your blog! A friend that I had been waiting to hear back from and hadn't communicated with in over a month suddenly sends me an urgent message in broken English to bail her out of Malaysia! I've changed her name for privacy sake.
Here's the message:



date Sun, Sep 14, 2008 at 10:59 PM

subject PLEASE HELP ME URGENTLY‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏

mailed-by hotmail.com

10:59 PM (32 minutes ago)




I am in hurry writing you this short message and I am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling. I traveled to Malaysia and i got my self stranded. It has been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain. I am really stranded in Malaysia because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents, cell phone which i have all my contacts and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I am now owing a hotel bill of $1,600 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to hand me over to the Hotel Management, I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $2,000 to feed and help myself back home. So please can you help me with a sum of $3,600 USD to sort out my problems here. I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home. So please use the details of one of the hotel managers below to transfer the money to me through Western Union money transfer because that is the only way i could be able to get it fast and leave since he has a valid ID to pick up the money for me from the western union. These are the details below....



Name: Charlie Delta (I changed this, too.)

Address: 24B Jalan Loke Yew, Bandar Melaka, Malaysia

Text Question: To whom

Answer: Alpha



After you have send the money, email to me the western union money transfer control number or you can attach and forward to me the western union money transfer receipt so that i can pick up the money fast and leave. Right now, i dont have any acess to phone communications because the phone in my hotel room had been disconnected due to too much bills, i only have acess to the computer at the library where am sending you this email right now.



Hope to hear from you soon. The embassy here has already promised to give me a covering traveling papers that i will need to have my way back home, all i need right now is the money to settle up the bills and leave.



Thanks and get back to me soon.



sincerely

Alpha Beta



So glad I found your website!

Thanks!

Steve Peterson said...

Yah -- very scary to get!

I noticed yours came from Hotmail too. I wonder if they've got a security problem.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Tonight I received the identical mail. First I was shoked and didnt quite know how to react, but but your site assured me thats a fake.

Maria U. said...

My mom was sending the same email. So I refreshed her memory- a week ago I received this email:

Dear Account User


CONFIRM YOUR WINDOWS LIVE ACCOUNT SERVICES. VERIFY YOUR HOTMAIL ACCOUNT NOW TO AVOID IT CLOSED !!!


This Email is from Hotmail Customer Care and we are sending it to every Hotmail Email User Accounts Owner for safety. we are having congestions due to the anonymous registration of Hotmail accounts so we are shutting down some Hotmail accounts and your account was among those to be deleted. We are sending this email to you so that you can verify and let us know if you still want to use this account. If you are still interested please confirm your account by filling the space below.Your User name, password, date of birth and your country information would be needed to verify your account.

Due to the congestion in all Hotmail users and removal of all unused Hotmail Accounts, Hotmail would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Information below after clicking the reply button, or your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.

* Username: ..............................
* Password: ................................
* Date of Birth: ............................
* Country Or Territory: ................

After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences.

Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two weeks of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

Sincerely,
The Windows Live Hotmail Team


Unfortunately my mom feel into his trap- He changed my mom's password, she lost her account.
Now he is sending the email from Malaysia asking for money, to all my mom's contacts. his name below. People are sick.

Name: Eric Maxwell
Address: 20B Jalan Loke Yew, Bandar Malaka, Malaysia
Text Question: To whom
Answer: Hania

Anonymous said...

Just got the same email from someone who had been in our Cub Scout troop a year ago, moved and hasn't been in touch for 6 months. This letter is even more fluent than he is, and I don't think he would ask everyone on his email contact list to send him money. Still, this is more convincing than many other such scams & I'm glad I decided to google the hotel address (nowhere in the email does it say what hotel the person is at, so there's no way to verify.)

Eric Maxwell is the name used in my email.

I'd guess this is making the rounds now, I'll see if snopes has it up yet.

Steve Peterson said...

Our big worry was about how convincing it was too -- I guess the con-artists are evolving!

Anonymous said...

Got a similar email this evening 1-29-09, from a 'friend' - notice it's now robbers who took the passport, little bag, and money. Called my friend, left a message, Googled the hotel address, and got this site. I'm Glad to see it's a scam, and also happy to see how someone could have breached hotmail's security so easily. Thanks for this info.
See letter below:
I am in a hurry writing you this message, i don't have much time on the pc here, so i have to brief you my present situation which requires your urgent response. Actually, I had a trip to Malaysia for a program called "Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education, the program is taking place in three major countries in Asia which are Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. But unfortunately for me, my little bag where my money, passport, document's and other valuable things got stolen at the hotel where i lodged due to a robbery incident that happened in the hotel. I have been so restless since last night, the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain, I am really stranded here because i have been without any money, i am even owing the hotel here as well, moreover the Hotel's telephone lines here got disconnected by the robbers and they are trying to get them fixed back. I have access to only emails at the library because they also took my cell phone which i have all my contacts. I am now owing a hotel bill of $1,100 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon. I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1,500 to feed and help myself back home. So please can you help me with a sum of $2,600 USD to sort out my problems here. I am sending you this email from the city Library, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home. So please use the details below to send the money to me through Western Union money transfer because that is the only way i could be able to get it fast and leave. These are the details below....

Name: Chris Chykowski
Address: 29B Jalan Loke Yew, Bandar Melaka, Malaysia

After you have send the money, email to me the western union money transfer control number or you can attach and forward to me the western union money transfer receipt so that i can pick up the money fast and leave.

Thanks and get back to me soon.

Warmest Regards,

Minghua Han said...

My account minghuahan2004@hotmail.com was broken into by someone. They are sending almost the same email to all my contacts asking for money. I am really annoyed.

I am sending emails to all the friends reminding them of the scam and hope my friend could see this scam on your website.

Maybe Hotmail should check their security measures.

Ex-Felon Girl said...

I was hit by this same scam and wrote about my experience in my blog. http://www.exfelongirl.com/2011/04/freind-in-trouble-scam.html