Just like me, I'm sure you get your share of unwanted or unwelcome emails. It's called SPAM. Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.
Did you get the email about winning the Euro Sweepstakes for millions of dollars---only to discover you had to send a couple thousand dollars of your hard earned money to get NOTHING in return?
Or what about the fake check sent--with instructions to go to the bank and cash it and then send the a portion of the proceeds back to a fictitious address? I can't believe the number of people who fell for that one.
But the email I received today caught my attention because I recognized the name of the sender. It came from a fellow baby boomer who lives in my area. We're not good friends but I know her and would try to help her if she needed it. The email read:
This had to come in haste, and it left me in a catastrophic state. I am in a terrible situation and I'm really in need of your help urgently. Yesterday, suddenly, I went to Africa for a program ...
That was my first red flag. The fact that she went to Africa SUDDENLY. Who takes a trip half-way around the world on a moment's notice?
Then the email went on to say:
Just wanted to seek your help on something very important, you are the only person I could reach at this point and I hope you come to my aid. Because something terrible is happening to me now, I need a favor from you. Right now,I am stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in a taxi where my money and passports were kept on my way to the Hotel were i stay, I have no money with me. I lost almost everything I have with me (which included my cash, diaries and credit cards). I am now owning a hotel bill of $550 and they wanted me to pay the bills soon else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management,I do not want to make a scene of this which is why I did not call the office or my house, this is embarrassing enough.please I need some help from you urgently to help me back home,and I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $950 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $1500 to sort out this problems here. I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here,please understand how urgent i need your help.
At the end of the email, she promised to pay me back upon her return home.
In addition to the poor spelling and grammatical errors, I also noticed a few very important things. The email was not personally addressed to me and it wasn't signed by her. The closing said:
Thanks and get back to me soon.
Don't allow yourself to get bamboozled and hoodwinked by a scam like this.