Yesterday, Feb. 29, would have been Bill’s 17th/68th birthday. (He has born on leap day.) Unfortunately, he died in 2007. So imagine the surprise generated when email arrived saying Bill needs a loan because his trip to Madrid has gone sour.
This is an extreme case–the message from the other side of the grave–but it is getting to be a common scam: a hijacked email address account sends a plea for money to everyone in the hijacked account’s address book. And because it’s a hijacked account, things like the signature or tag phrase the real sender would have used often appear at the end of the message. In this version, the deceased’s real address is modified slightly in the reply-to field so that the hijacker can harvest replies.
We’ve seen variations of this message claiming that the alleged sender is stranded in London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and–now–Madrid. It’s a type of phishing scam.
See a message like this one? Delete it.
From: Bill <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Sad News Please Help ……Bill
Date: March 1, 2012 9:58:42 AM EST
To: undisclosed recipients: ;
Just writing to let you know our trip to Spain Madrid has been a mess. I was having a great time until last night when we got mugged and lost all my cash, credit card and cell phone It has been a scary experience, I was hit at the back of my neck with a club. Anyway.I’m still
alive and that’s whats important. I’m financially strapped right now and need your help. I need you to loan me some $$, I’ll refund it to you as soon as i arrive home.Please let me know what you can do
Keep yourself simple, keep your life natural, never stop growing.