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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beware of Email Hackers


How are you doing?hope all is well with you, i am sorry that i didn't inform you about my traveling to England for a Seminar.

I need a favor from you as soon as you recieve this e-mail because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money,and other valuable things were kept, i will like you to assist me with a  loan urgently. I will be needing the sum of $2,500  to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.

I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with, i'll pay you back as soon as i return. Kindly let me know if you can be of help? so that i can send you the details to use when sending the money through western union.

Your reply will be greatly appreciated.


This is odd, I muttered to myself while reading this message sent from the email address of one of my colleagues and my teacher in grad school, Prof. Grace Subido.  It's titled "HELP PLEASE!!!" (No, it wasn't all caps, but yes, it had three exclamation points). I checked the sender's email address. No problem there, all the letters  and characters are complete and in their proper order.

But how could she be in England at this hour (message sent @ 6.49 pm, 15 April 2000) when I just attended her Literature class today after lunchtime and even consulted her on a form I was filling in later in the afternoon ? I know she's got a sleek car and a loaded wallet, but I didn't know she had a supersonic jet, I brayed and clucked to myself.  Besides, if she were attending a seminar in London or in Oslo, Chechnya, Tel Aviv, Kabul, Shanghai, Queensland, Rhode Island, Timbuktu, or elsewhere, we at our department -- being such a closely knit bunch -- would know.  Besides, the professor is not one who'd freak out so much after losing her pocketbook that she would let out a battery of  S.O.S. to a thousand-and-one smarties in her mailing list.  Why, the first thing she'd do perhaps is to call home for a money transfer.  And of all people, I won't be one to whom she'd email a "send-me-money-puhleeeezzz!" scream when she knows I couldn't even foot the bill at any eat-out meeting with her and a few other friends.

Then I re-read the message and four more details confirmed my suspicion that she didn't write this "Mayday! Mayday" text and that her email account has just been hacked.


How are you doing?"

Nyehehe... What was that?  Grace's opening line? Helow...?! It would have been close if the hacker wrote,

"Dear Scott,

I know you're rich and kind..."

Kidding! (But I wish! bray and chuckle again...)

Now to details # 2-4.

" soon as you recieve this email..."

Being the OC and grammarian that she is, my friend Grace wouldn't misspell "receive" even when typing with closed eyes.

" i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money,and other valuable things were kept.... I will be needing the sum of $2,500  to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home."

Veteran editor Grace wouldn't hyphenate the underlined verb phrase. Well, that claim of misplacing something  is quite  believable because, like me, Grace sometimes gets her cerebrum cells disoriented (translation: forgetful but not yet senile, makalimutin pero di pa naman ulyanin).  But a $2,500 bill for a less than an hour stay in a hotel is preposterous! "Get myself back home"? Yeah, right. Go home to 'Pinas bwuhuhu after a 30-minute seminar in Angle-land.

Friends, please be wary of emails like this. Who knows how many emails this pseudo has hacked already.

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