The digital world is filled with all sorts of cyber threats, and most people think falling victim to one would never happen to them, but scammers are getting more and more creative these days.

University of Illinois Chicago

A simple little email from a friend asking for a favor involving a couple of hundred dollars. Except that when you read it again you realize that the signature isn’t his usual signature — and he says he’s traveling, but you just heard from him and he was clearly at home when he wrote. You look at the address. It’s not the usual address.

University of Illinois Chicago

And suddenly, you know it’s not who it says it is and your friends’ name and picture were scammed. You almost wound up paying for it. You should know better but it’s so easy to not realize that something is wrong — until you do. If I hadn’t realized he is NOT traveling, is definitely home, never signs his name that way and finally, is more than competent to deal with this himself if it were a real “thing.” He would certainly not need my help.

It’s a scam. A common, every day gift card scam. It’s so easy to get taken for a ride. Whether it’s a big or little ride, it’s easy to not notice details. Little things.

Just be very careful.

Categories: Anecdote, hacking, scams, Technology

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12 replies

  1. I am sure I know who you mean because I got the request too. Immediately I thought something was wrong. He does not know me personally and might recognize my name from some emails that were sent with all of us in copy or from reading some articles I wrote. Since I could check his actual email from some group messages, I saw the email address was not the same. Digital scammers are always hard at work.


  2. These scams are getting more and more common. I’ve received emails like this myself and fortunately knew that the people concerned were not travelling but the scammers count on the instant reaction of wanting to help a friend.
    Pretty much anyone who asks for gift cards is a scammer I think.


    • It took me a few minutes, but it was the kind of request you would make of someone who didn’t know anything about scammers or the internet. As soon as I realized it, I knew, but it actually took me a few minutes. The request was nonsense, so you’d have to really know nothing to go through with it. My reaction had been “Surely you can take care of this on your own when you get home and I have to assume that your ailing friend will not be dead by then or why would you be buying them gifts at all?”

      Not a very sophisticated effort. But still, had I been just a little less aware…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Marilyn, the worst part is these scammers often take advantage of elderly people who don’t identify scams as easily. It makes me very upset. My mom has nearly been caught twice and so has my aunt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They count on your not noticing details. Like double-checking the email address, realizing that your friend never signs his name like that — and finally, why would he ask ME to help with this when he has a perfectly helpful wife at home AND is extremely competent and if he needed help, I wouldn’t be the one he would ask. Now if he were asking about blogging or punctuation, THAT would be my bailiwick.

      They do count on your failing to look carefully. But of course I immediately said that what he was asking for was way more complicated than it needed to be and unless he was gone for a long time, just take care of it when he got home. It shouldn’t have even taken me THAT long. I just wasn’t paying attention — and that’s where the danger lies.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. My email was hacked, and the scammer requested money from all of my contacts, it was so embarrassing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sent my friend a note. If whoever it was had tried me, I’m sure he tried anyone else he could find and probably already had. But it really isn’t YOUR fault. There are a zillion hackers out there from kids out to grab a couple of hundred dollars to big time scammers trying to get your house. That’s the world we live in. It’s embarrassing because we don’t want our friends getting hurt but it really is NOT our fault.

      Liked by 1 person

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