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May 18th, 2011

Phishing email: The friend needing help

An example of a phishing email I received today, which at first glance appeared to be a legitimate email from a friend, except for a Gmail warning at the top:

The text reads:

Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can’t have access to funds without my credit card, I’ve made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in. I really need to be on the next available flight.
I can forward you details on how you can get the funds to me. You can reach me via email or on Blue Island hotel front desk phone, the numbers are, +447031804805 or +447031804806.

I await your response….


Fortunately, my Gmail provided this warning at the top, or I might have been more prone to believe that it actually came from my friend (and would have wasted time emailing her or calling mutual friends to confirm her location):

Warning: The content of this message is suspicious. The sender’s account may be compromised. Beware of following links or of providing the sender with any personal information. Ignore, I trust this message  Learn more…


Be careful out there. “The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches…” ~Miguel de Unamuno (Spanish author and philosopher, 1864-1936)

Categories: General Tags: ,
  • Kurt

    Jason, just a hint from someone who lived in the UK for some time: indeed 7031 in the phone number indicates that it really is a mobile phone ;-)

  • Jason Mashak

    As well, I don’t have very many friends (if any) who would tell me they want money in the very first sentence. :)

    And the inconsistent capitalization/punctuation was also suspect, as the real friend of mine named “Joan” is an English professor.

    How scammers expect this to work, I think, is by appealing to a sense of urgency (“Hope you get this on time…”) in a delicate situation (who wouldn’t want to help a friend get out of Scotland ASAP?). :D

  • julius

    how could get my free avast license?

  • Jason Mashak

    avast! Free Antivirus does not require a license (only our paid-for solutions require one). For the free home-user version, you only need to re-register it 1x/year. I hope that helps.

  • 哈哈


  • Nikoi Kotey

    I am the victim. The hacker has also wiped clean the contents of all the contents of my in and sent boxes