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CA Researcher Received Scam E-mail from Old Friend

A CA security researcher shares his experience of being almost carried away by a scam e-mail. While checking his inbox, he discovered an e-mail from a close old pal.

Reading the subject line "Bad News", apprehensively, the researcher opened the e-mail. He was completely stunned while reading the e-mail. This friend told the story that she had written the e-mail with tears rolling down her eyes. She was on a short holiday to England. She, along with her husband, was robbed at gunpoint the night before, at the park of their hotel. The robbers stole the cell phone, all their cash and credit cards, and they were fortunate enough to be alive with passports.

They approached the police but they were told that they have to wait for at least 3 weeks, which was not possible. The friend further said that flight will depart in about 3 hours, and without clearing the bills, the hotel manager won't let them go.

The recipient is asked to wire $2,450 via Western Union.

He notes that when it comes to e-mails, one needs to be very careful.

He said that if one scrutinizes the scam e-mail carefully, a few flaws can be identified. For example, no one in particular is addressed in the "To" line, which increases the doubt that e-mail was certainly sent to a large number of users.

The letter lacks the elements of personal touch, acknowledgement and references. Thirdly, the researcher was not in regular touch with this friend. Notably, if this friend was to really get in touch with some one at the tough time, then she would have chosen a closer one from her own country.

Bad spellings and grammar also made the e-mail smell phishy.

When the researcher afterwards called this friend of him, he came to know that she could not any more access her e-mail account as the login details were not functional. Certainly, some one stole her credentials most likely by a keylogger on the affected system, and some scammer was now using her e-mail.

So, it is better to be skeptic in case of e-mails, and confirm through phone to ensure that the sender is genuine.

Related article: CA Canada Found Alarming Facts About Corporate Data Loss

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