Help! I’m Trapped in London!

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My good friend is trapped in London without a passport, money or credit cards. Can you help me bring her home?

I just got this email from an old friend of mine. It’s printed here in its entirety with the exception of her last name. But I did get it with the last name, and the name does belong to a friend of mine.

joanne xxxxx[[email protected]]
Sent: Wed 7/7/2010 8:52 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:

Apologies for having to reach out to you like this, I made a quick trip to London,UK and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. I’m document less and penniless right now. 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 the 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 May field hotel’s desk phone, the numbers are, 011447024065511 or 011447024064567 or instant msg me on my Blackberry: [email protected]

I await your response…
Thank you very much

What should I do?

A. Immediately call the “May field” hotel and try to reach Joanne.
B. Send her an instant message on her Blackberry.
C. Call her husband and ask why he’s not helping her.
D. Recognize this email for the stupid hoax it is and delete it.

Hopefully you picked D. This email is a hoax. How do I know? First, because the whole idea is preposterous. Joanne’s not in London: I just talked to her last week. But even if Joanne frequently went to London, I’d still know it’s a fake. For example, Joanne went to college; the idiot who wrote this email probably didn’t:

  • They call the hotel “May field” rather than “Mayfield”.
  • I’m “document less?” Nope.
  • Can’t we capitalize “i”?

In addition to being stupid, the thief who wrote this email is also not American. When was the last time you signed an email, “I await your response”? In fact, the entire wording and tone of this email suggests a person who might speak English, but not American English.

If you get an email like this, trash it. Then run some virus/security software to make sure your computer hasn’t been compromised. Then call the friend whose account sent the message, because their address book probably has been compromised. Let them know they need to change their passwords (something you should do once a month anyway).

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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