I received the following e-mail this morning:
To: Brent Logan
From: John Smith1
Subject: Urgent Please
Hope you are doing well.I had travelled to London for a seminar yesterday, Unfortunately for me,my money was stolen from the hotel that i lodged in and they made away with my wallet (which included my cash, diary and credit cards). I am so confused right now and i didnt bring my phone here along with me.Please i want you to lend me a sum £1,050 GBP today, just to clear my Hotel bills and re-arrange myself back home,As soon as i get home i would refund it immediately.Write me so i can let you know how to send it to me through western union money transfer since i dont have an an account here.
Being a generally careful person, I requested confirming information. Unfortunately, I asked for exactly the wrong sort of information:
Sorry to hear about your problems. I’m sure you’ll understand why I need some identification information before forwarding you any money. How are you related to me? Looking forward to hearing back from you… ;-)
At first glance, the response seemed reasonable.
I know you simply asked me that for security purposes but you and i know that We are distant cousins via my Jones2/Logan family.I did the research on the Logan Line and wrote a book.I have spoken with the embassy and they are not responding to the matter effectively. I have also filed a report with the british police.Please i need you to lend me £1,050 GBP.you can help me have it sent via Western Union Money Transfer so i can re-arrange myself and return back home.Below is the information you might require in sending me some money to me.
Receivers name:John Smith
Address/location: 34 Leinster Square, Bayswater,
London ,United Kingdom.
Brent,as soon as you send the money, just send me the mtcn number and the senders full information used when sending the money. I would be waiting.
Then I remembered John does genealogy as a hobby. An online search quickly found all the “confirming” information the scammer sent to me.
I’ve requested more confirming information (after all, it still might be John — but I doubt it). I also researched how to contact the London police.
Those of us who disclose family information online need to know it makes it easier for those around us to be scammed. Giving your e-mail password to another site completes the process.
Let’s be careful out there.
Update. I guess I can’t report this to the London police:
Currently there is no facility in the UK to report fraud offences on line. (Source.)
Is the UK the next Nigeria?
Update 2. My brother writes on Facebook later the same day:
Loves it that Mom sends me an email warning me of an Internet scam – “friend” asking for money to be wired cuz he lost his wallet, etc., while traveling. Mom picks up the telephone and calls him!