[APG Public List] [APG Members] SCAM: My Predicament!!!! (NeedHelp).

Amy Crow amy at amyjohnsoncrow.com
Fri Jun 25 09:01:48 MDT 2010

> This idea that 'friends of friends' wired money sounds like a classic urban legend.  Usually phrased in the manner "some friends of friends" did it, or saw it, or it happened to them.  When you go looking to see who these people were, it's like trying to drive to the horizon,  it keeps advancing in front of you through a continuous chain of new 'friends of friends'.  And you never reach an actual person who fell for it.

I can personally vouch for one person who was a breath away from falling for this scam. My elderly aunt received a similar email from her "grandson." She went to her local grocery store to wire the money. Fortunately, the clerk thought the whole thing sounded like a scam and asked my aunt if she had tried calling her grandson. She said no, she hadn't, because the email said that he was in a foreign country, etc etc. The clerk kindly suggested that she try calling him anyway. She did and discovered the whole thing was a hoax. If it hadn't been for the heads-up action of the clerk, my aunt would have been out several hundred dollars.

It's important for us to remember that just because we're savvy to these sorts of things, not everyone who uses email is. (And it doesn't necessarily have to be an elderly person falling for it, either. I've seen plenty of bonehead decisions by members of the supposedly tech-savvy generation.) Just because someone uses email does not automatically mean that (1) they're savvy about it and (2) they're immune to social engineering scams. (Social engineering scams defined by Online Cyber Safety as "a scam that preys upon our acceptance of authority and willingness to cooperate with others.")

> they keep doing it simply because it's easy to do.  Not because it succeeds.  Someone somewhere lives in hope of finding a dupe.  I guess it keeps them busy.  I imagine the return on their efforts is very small.

I don't agree with the statement that "...the return on their efforts is very small." These emails are sent out by the thousands in a very small amount of time. Let's say it takes 30 minutes to send out 10,000 such emails (it's likely much less time than that, but let's be over-cautious with our estimate). If just 1% of those recipients respond, that's 100 respondents. If each one sends just $100, that's $10,000 the scammer made in 30 minutes -- not a bad hourly rate, if you ask me. If there isn't money in it, they wouldn't be doing it.

Amy Johnson Crow, CG

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