I got one of those hack messages via e-mail the other day that was pretty good. It came from the e-mail of an acquaintance, and it looked legit, asking for help. I wrote back, 'cause I'm stoopid that way, and got this:
I'm so glad you reply back i could not inform everyone about my trip to Manila Philippines for a program because it was impromptu. The program was successful, but my journey has turned sour I was mugged at gun point and all my valuables were stolen (cash, credit cards and phone), where I went for sightseeing before leaving to the airport since my return flight is in few hours. Luckily I had my passport in my hotel room to get me home.Its was a terrible experience. all i need now is $1,950 (or whatsoever you can afford) to settle some outstanding hotel bills and also take a cab to the airport. I have contacted my bank, but the best they can do is to mail a new card which will take 2 to 3 days to get here.Western Union Transfer is the fastest option to wire the funds to me. Please let me know if you can help me out? I promise to make the immediate refund when i get home,Ultimately it was a more clever con than most, right down to using my pal's name to receive cash from Western Union.
The hacker got extremely fortunate on two fronts:
1) The acquaintance whose account he unlocked is not a wordsmith, just an average joe who never went for college and never worked in a job that required writing skills. So the poor writing was not a giveaway.
2) I had not heard from the fellow for some time, but this wasn't completely out of the blue; not like we hadn't seen each other since kindergarten. We did have each other's e-mail addresses.
3) Of all the dozens upon dozens of acquaintances I have, if I had to pick one guy who would get himself in trouble in a foreign country and need to be bailed out, it could very well be this guy. We've all got one buddy, and maybe lots more, who would be voted Most Likely to Wind Up Nude, Screwed, and Tattooed Halfway Around the World.
Still, it just didn't sound like the man I knew, who might ask for money but would go about it differently. I was able to alert the guy through other channels that his account had been invaded. He closed the e-mail account and the hacker was foiled.
I freaking hate these guys. I think the first two e-mail messages ever sent were:
B2: AM IN PERIL WIRE MONEY
I think this happened a lot. The first transatlantic cable message was "Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." The reply: "Send five hundred dollars to this account." Alexander Graham Bell's first phone message was "Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you." Maybe Watson replied, "Send money right away." The first telegraph message, from DC to Baltimore, was "What hath God wrought?" The reply: "Send bank account number for Nigerian transfer." The first message transmitted from space to earth was, "This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one: Through this unique means I convey to you and to all mankind, America's wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere." The reply: "Send money for great work at home plan make fifty thousand a month."
Technology marches on, but douchebags are always with us.