A friend of mine just found out this morning that someone had hacked into her gmail account. How'd she find out about this?
She had at least 12 phone messages waiting for her when she arrived at work, from freaked-out friends and coworkers concerned for her well-being.
After all, the e-mail they had gotten from her said she and her family had been robbed while visiting London and had all their money and credit cards taken. The e-mail said that they were stranded and needed help. Monetary help, that is.
One of the recipients of this e-mail, who knew my friend was very much in Iowa and not in distress, chatted up the poseur via an instant messaging program for a solid 45 minutes to play along with the charade and try to mess with the crook's head.
I read a "transcript" of the conversation, and it had me in stitches.
Until I realized just how much it WASN'T a laughing matter. Can you imagine your family getting an e-mail from you, thinking you were in trouble? The swindler wanted U.S. $1,400, via Western Union. How quickly that money could just disappear. I mean, it was pretty obvious to me that my friend hadn't written the e-mail. But others are much more trusting and less cynical than I.
I'm curious how many people actually fall for this. There must be some payoff for the criminals, or they wouldn't do it. But think how long it must take to get someone to bite. I can't help wondering why these people don't go out and get real jobs that pay a steady wage and, in reality, don't take nearly the work being a thief seems to.
I titled this, "People are scum." And yes, those who try to dupe others certainly fall into the scumbag category. But what does it say for those people who would blindly schlep money off to a loved one they believed to be in trouble. People are stunningly giving. (Or maybe incredibly stupid...but I'd like not to think that.)