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Parkersburg Man Just Saved from Scammers

Tom Black, a resident of Parkersburg (West-Virginia, USA) was almost defrauded off his hard-earned money, but saved when he realized that he was being scammed with a fraudulent e-mail. Newsandsentinel.com published this dated November 8, 2011.

Actually, an e-mail reached Black on November 7, 2011 that posed as a message his friend sent stating that robbers attacked him in Belfast (Northern Ireland) where they took away his money-bag containing his credit cards and the entire cash. Fortunately, the passport was saved, the message stated.

However, when Black replied to it, the scammers immediately wrote back requesting to send $1,950 with which the e-mail sender could apparently pay the hotel bills as also his flight ticket for getting back to USA, adding that the money should be wired through Western Union at certain "Belfast, United Kingdom" address.

Black was almost sending the money when he felt something suspicious. So he called his friend's family that told him whatever he heard was bogus.

Now, Tom is thinking about informing the Sheriff's Department in his locality about the incident.

Unfortunately, according to the security specialists as well as other officials of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), the scam, which struck Black, is called the "stranded traveler's scam" that's also called the "emergency scam."

This kind of scam involves scammers who dispatch a message from an individual's e-mail account to that person's friends telling that he has been mugged alternatively struck abroad while on a holiday, so he may urgently wire some money (as described within Black's case). Incidentally, since the e-mail appears as coming from a known person like a friend, recipients tend to hasten and at times even send a few thousand dollars that actually go the scammers, specialists explain.

Thus to remain safe, recipients of such e-mails should first contact the person asking for the money over phone instead of e-mail, as incase that person's mailbox is hijacked then one cannot know for certain if the e-mail from the friend is real. Secondly, the US Embassy should be contacted for verifying if the e-mail writer is actually stranded as claimed in the message.

Related article: Parser Bugs in AV Software could Increase Attack Risk

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