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Distress moment: receiving a scam email
Thread poster: Enrique Cavalitto

Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 00:29
SITE STAFF
Nov 1, 2016

I just received an email allegedly sent by a known member of this site. I am sharing it here in order to alert about this well known scam, presented in our Scam Alert Center as the "wallet lost abroad" scam:


Distress moment

How are you and how is your family? I hope everything is good with you and happy new year. I'm sorry to bother you with this. I'm currently in Ontario, Canada due to some urgent matters to help my ill cousin, she was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid and she needs Hysterectomy Surgery operation to save her life. The news of her illness arrived to me as an emergency that she needs family supports to keep her alive. The total amount for the surgery is £6,000.

The hospital management is demanding for a deposit of £4,000 before they can carry out the surgery operation to save her life. I already have deposited £3,150 and now I have a balance of £2,850 to pay. Am wondering if you can assist me with a soft loan of £2,850 to make the necessary arrangement. I'll surely pay back as soon as I get back home, If you can not raise all the money I'll appreciate whatever amount you can come up with.

Hope to read back from you.


Regards,
Enrique


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:29
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
WOW Nov 1, 2016

Thanks. This makes me feel distressed too...

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Mixed up currencies Nov 1, 2016

Thank you, Enrique, for posting this.

Aside from too much displayed curiosity (how is your family?) and too much irrelevant info, the scammer apparently doesn't know that Canada's currency is not the British Pound. So why would they use it as the charging currency for anything? Scammers apparently never learn.

What is upsetting is that they didn't even bother to change anything, but stuck with the well known scam. Whenever someone sends me a message like this, I'd first check the sender's IP address, then the scammers' directory. This can help to relieve a lot of distress in the "early stage".

[Edited at 2016-11-01 18:11 GMT]


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:29
Polish to Czech
+ ...
Happy New Year Nov 1, 2016

Thayenga wrote:

Whenever someone sends me a message like this, I'd first check the sender's IP address, then the scammers' directory. This can help to relieve a lot of distress in the "early stage".

[Edited at 2016-11-01 18:11 GMT]


I don't think this would help you much, since it looks like the email was sent from the real address of that person (not Proz profile, do I understand correctly...?), meaning it's been hacked. I've once received a similar email too, from a friend, and then learned his email (on yahoo) was hacked and this message was being sent to everybody in his address book.
So if you communicate with the (legitimate) owner of this address in English (I didn't with the friend of mine), you may end up scratching your head for a few seconds.... but not more, imho, it's rather lame attempt.

So happy New Year to everybody and stay safe,
Kat


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 00:29
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Email hacked or created to impersonate Nov 1, 2016

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

I don't think this would help you much, since it looks like the email was sent from the real address of that person (not Proz profile, do I understand correctly...?), meaning it's been hacked.


The message was received via an email that could be the (hacked) real email belonging to the translator, or else a fake account created to impersonate the translator. The IP would still be useful, since it could tell you about where the email was sent from.

Regards,
Enrique


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Hacked email Nov 1, 2016

I received a very similar email some years ago pretending to be my landlord. The scam was very well-designed and convincing, except for the fact that I couldn’t see my landlord asking me for money knowing that he comes from a very large and wealthy family…

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:29
Member (2008)
French to English
Hmm... Nov 2, 2016

Funny, I can't think of any hospitals in Ontario that accept GBP for payment. Come to think of it, OHIP, Ontario's government-run medicare plan, would cover her surgery 100%. So no need for cash or distress...

Or perhaps the sender doesn't know much about Ontario.


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Keijo Sarv  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 05:29
Member (2015)
English to Estonian
fibroid Nov 2, 2016

Thayenga wrote:

Thank you, Enrique, for posting this.

Aside from too much displayed curiosity (how is your family?) and too much irrelevant info, the scammer apparently doesn't know that Canada's currency is not the British Pound. So why would they use it as the charging currency for anything? Scammers apparently never learn.


He obviously also doesn't know what "uterine fibroid" is. Those are benign tumors that are quite wide-spread among women and mostly do not cause any problems. Sometimes they may cause uncomfortable symptoms and in worst cases hysterectomia is needed to solve the problems, but "emergency", "save her life" and "keep her alive" are not phrases that accurately describe the situation.


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:29
Polish to Czech
+ ...
Have some fun Nov 2, 2016

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:
The message was received via an email that could be the (hacked) real email belonging to the translator, or else a fake account created to impersonate the translator. The IP would still be useful, since it could tell you about where the email was sent from.

Regards,
Enrique


You're right about the IP, I got somewhat confused... it probably wouldn't match the location where he/she/it claims he/she/it is, so this would be one more red flag.
But it really looks like this kind of scam usually involves hacked email (your link and the proz wiki also say so), so I bet that's what happened here as well.

On a lighter note, it reminded me of this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pO_mlZDlFo
One of the funniest sketches by James Veitch, imho.


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 21:29
German to English
+ ...
medical costs .. in Canada? Nov 2, 2016

That in itself shows it's a scam (beyond the wrong currency etc.)

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't bother with spam Nov 2, 2016

The moment an email starts with “Dear sir/madam” or without any salutation, I just delete the thing. If you know the red flags of a scam email —whether it's phishing, spearphishing or some other social engineering trick— just delete it.

Now, don't confuse spam email with scam email. They're not the same. Spam emails come from verifiable sources but they may be sent to collect or confirm email addresses, names, etc. to send more spam. Unless you receive a newsletter or some other email from a company you know, do not click on the Unsuscribe link below, as you'll just verify your email address and other information for their benefit.

I wouldn't bother with their IP address, their spelling or whether they use the right currency or know medical terminology. If you do, you're already playing into their hands: making you waste your time.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:29
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Instant rejection Nov 2, 2016

If I were to receive an email from anyone that began "How are you and how is your family?"

I would immediately trash it without even reading the rest.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
To save her life Nov 2, 2016

Which is repeated twice...

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Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:29
English to Spanish
... Nov 2, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

If I were to receive an email from anyone that began "How are you and how is your family?"

I would immediately trash it without even reading the rest.


Yes. It's like when you receive a telemarketing call, and they start with a "How are you today, Sir?". I get instantly bored and feel that I am already wasting valuable time of my life (2 seconds so far), even if I am not doing anything, other than probably scratching an unmentionable part of my anatomy.

[Edited at 2016-11-02 16:03 GMT]


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:29
English to Japanese
+ ...
Got a same scam few years ago from a colleague Nov 2, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

I received a very similar email some years ago pretending to be my landlord. The scam was very well-designed and convincing, except for the fact that I couldn’t see my landlord asking me for money knowing that he comes from a very large and wealthy family…


When the email arrived, I was first surprised by what's this person doing in a foreign country (I believe it was Canada, if I'm not mistaken) and claims that she had her passport, wallet, money, credit card, etc. stolen so she would like me to send her some money, and when she get back to her home country, she would pay me back.

I became suspicious and sent her an email asking for details. The answer was "her mail account has been hacked".

Anyway, the good part is that she wasn't abroad and of course robbed, so that was a big relief.


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Distress moment: receiving a scam email

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