Saturday, April 17, 2010

watch out for this scam

I just got email from a friend:
This had to come in a hurry and it has left me in a devastating state. I'm in some terrible situation and I'm really going to need your urgent help. Some days ago,unannounced,I came to visit a resort center in Drayton, Scotland Road Industrial Estate, Dry Drayton Cambridge England, UK..but I got mugged by some hoodlums and lost all my cash,credit cards, I'm financially stranded right now and my return flight leaves in few hours time but I need some money to clear some bills, I didn't bring my cell phone along since I didn't get to roam them before coming over. So all I can do now is pay cash and get out of here quickly.I do not want to make a scene of this which is why I did not call my house,this is embarrassing enough.I was wondering if you could loan me some cash, I'll refund it to you as soon as I arrive home just need to clear my Hotel bills and get the next plane home, As soon as I get home I'll refund it immediately. Write me so I can let you know how to send it.
It's a common scam. Someone hacked her email account and wrote to everyone in it.

PS. As Emma says, "Friends don't let friends use Microsoft Outlook."

ETA: Medievalist explains:

This particular scam starts with an email asking you to verify or reset your Facebook password, with an embedded script that sends the login to a scammer.

They then try gmail, hotmail, etc. using the login for FaceBook

They then contact everyone in your online email account asking for money because you're stranded.

Three things to learn:

1. Ignore password requests in email. No one legit cares about your password. Admins don't need a password.

2. Don't use the same login everywhere. Use a complicated password--try a line from a song, altering it with slightly different letters, numbers and punctuation marks, or just shift your fingers one key to the right on the keyboard, and type as you would.

Both Windows and Mac (Keychain.app) have utilities to create good strong passwords, and to track them, and even encrypt them.