It seems silly in today’s day and age that people would fall for internet scams. But then the Manti Te’o situation happened, and it became clear that there are some idiotic and naïve people in the world.
I guess that is why scammers continue to send those ridiculous emails asking for money to be wired to them overseas.
I received one of those emails at my work account early Thursday morning. This time, instead of just deleting it, I decided to have fun with it.
Apparently this person at some point performed at Moody Gardens for Festival of Lights. That must be how my email was in their hotmail address book. However, I have never met “Leah.”
Here is our email exchange:
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 2:29 AM
To: undisclosed recipients:
I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I am sorry that i did not inform you about my trip to Manila, Philippines. I and my family came down here to Manila, Philippines for a short vacation and we were mugged at a gun point last night at the park of the hotel where we lodged, all cash,credit cards and cell phones were stolen from us. We have been to the embassy and the police here but they are not helping issues at all, our flight leaves in less than 24hrs from now and we having problems settling the hotel bills.
The hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the hotel bills, right now we are freaked out, All i need from you now is just a loan to pay for the hotel bills and to get our flight back to the next 24 Hours. I promise to pay the money back to you as soon as we get back home because the hotel manager won’t let us leave until i pay for the hotel bills…
I need your help.
OK, let’s see if I can have some fun with this…
WOW! Sounds serious.
Should I send it via money order? Or would it be easier to just give my bank account number so you can use however much you need?
Please let me know. I’d hate for you to be trapped in Manila for the rest of your life!
Would they respond? The answer was a resounding yes!
I am glad to hear from you. We don’t have access to calls at the moment and that is why i am mailing you via the hotel system and i have limited time to do that, we need you to help us as soon as possible because our flight leaves in some few hours, all we need more is $1,550 USD to pay for hotel bills and also get a taxi to the airport. I’ll appreciate whatsoever you can wire to me at the moment. You can get the money sent via western union, checkwww.westernunion.com for a local WU outlet that is close to you or go to any walmart store and use my below details to complete the transfer:
Name: Leah White
Receiver’s Address: North Bridgeway Filinvest Corporate City Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Manila, Philippines, 1781
Amount: $1,550 USD
You will have to get back to me with the confirmation number as soon as you are done with the transfer, so that i can pick it up over here with my passport. Thanks a lot, we are really glad that you can help and will surely get the money back to you immediately we are back home.
Let me know when you are heading to the western union office.
Now it’s time to see how far I can string this person along.
OK, I’m heading to the Western Union now. However, I’m only going to send 1,472.38. I intend to pick you up from the airport and drive you home, which will save some money!
Let me know if this is OK and I will send you the confirmation number.
See, I’m such a nice guy for offering to pick them up. They seemed more concerned about the money, though.
Okay, thanks so much for your effort over getting us back home. Once you are done Kindly e-mail me the confirmation details (MTCN) for the pick of the funds.
I’II hang in here
Time to get a bit ridiculous
I just realized that I have to take my dog to the groomers soon. Can you let me know when your flight arrives and what airline you are flying in? I would hate to be late and miss picking you up.
This didn’t scare them off at all!
My flight leaves pretty soon, so please kindly proceed to the western union and get the money sent to me immediately. I’ll definately update you on where to pick me via email.
I’ll be waiting to receive the western union details.
So “Leah,” let’s see how far you want to take this…
I was doing some research, and boy, it sure is scary to see the crimes rates in the Philippines. Did you know that there were 230,817 recorded crime incidents in 2011? Then it was reported that crime was up 36% in 2012!
That’s really scary! Why would you want to travel to Manila? I can’t remember if you told me you have family there.
Anyway, I’m thinking I should wire the money straight to the hotel. I’d hate for you to be mugged again on your way back to the hotel. I would sleep much better knowing you didn’t have to venture into the unsafe streets of Manila.
Let me know the hotel information soon. I’m walking out the door to WU in mere moments!
Clearly I flustered them, because their next response didn’t really make up with my last email.
It’s me for sure… the best and reliable way you can get the cash to me is Via Western Union.Kindly get it done Via western Union i promise to pay you back when i get back home. Am really freaked out here and can’t think deep at the moment,Please i really need your help to get me out of this mess,if i am not the one i won’t have asked you to send the money to my name,as we both know i will need some kinda of identification at the bank or western union before cashing the money…as this point i will want you to know that you are my only hope
Kindly get the transfer done ! Once you are done Kindly e-mail me the confirmation details (MTCN) for the pick of the funds.
I’II hang in here
I don’t think Leah is taking her safety very serious, which is curious considering the mugging.
I have no doubt it is you. Just reading your emails, I can hear your lovely voice. I have no doubt you are hanging in there. You’ve always been the bravest of our group, even more so than Athos, Porthos and Aramis.
Since sending it to the hotel isn’t an option, maybe I can send some more cash and you can hire a bodyguard or someone to escort you to WU and back. Like I said, I would feel so much better knowing you were safe from the horrors of those Manila streets.
Who knows, maybe the hotel will provide this kind of service for free. I know they are upset with you at the moment, but maybe the promise of you delivering their money will cause them to take pity on you.
Let me know. I’ve called WU and they are expecting me very soon!
Again, they are kind of ignoring the question here. That’s a bit disappointing.
Thanks,Kindly get it done! Once you are done with the transfer Via western Union Kindly e-mail me the confirmation details (MTCN) for the pick of the funds.
I’II hanging in here
But what if I don’t have all the money?
So should I send more money? I only ask because I just looked at my bank account and realized I may not have as much as you are asking.
I have started passing a collection jar around the office, and so far, I have raised $1.23. At this rate, I don’t feel like it will take long at all to raise the money necessary to get you home from that hell!
Just send me the updated amount ($1500 – taxi + bodyguard service) and I will get it to you right away.
Maybe now they are starting to get a bit frustrated.
Okay, just go ahead with the actual amount you have at hand. I promise to show my gratitude to you and pay you back Once i get back home. Once you are done Kindly e-mail me the confirmation details (MTCN) for the pick of the funds.
I’II hang in here
Time for the knockout punch from me.
I’m a little worried about this “gratitude” you keep mentioning. Aren’t you married? And I love my girlfriend very much. Perhaps a simple handshake would suffice.
Just by curiosity, did you ask the hotel what would happen if you did leave without paying? Do they have you locked in your room with nothing more than a computer with hotmail email access? Oh God, that’s what it is, isn’t it! My poor, poor Leah. You are a brave soul indeed.
I hope you aren’t literally “hanging” in there. I saw that in a movie once. I think it was called Hostel. That movie was set in Europe, but I think they still sometimes call them hostels in the Philippines. The horror!
Should I call the cops? Are the hotel owners hanging you from the room roof, forcing you to type emails with just your toes? That would likely explain your unusually poor grammar.
Let me know so I can help you immediately.
Sadly, “Leah” didn’t respond to that last email. I guess the scammer finally realized they were getting scammed. Still, you have to admire the persistence in hopes of actually receiving some money!
• I went back to Alabama earlier this month for my 10-year college reunion at Montevallo. Yeh-Peu-Dah and I had a blast, hanging out with some of my old college friends and walking around my beautiful college campus.
I also made sure to get my fill on my favorite Alabama eateries, including Dreamland and Jim N’ Nicks. Yeh-Peu-Dah finally understands what Alabama BBQ is all about.
Thanks to all of my friends for making it an awesome trip! I’ve posted plenty of photos on Facebook.
• For the first time in my life, I broke 100 on an 18-hole golf course. This magical moment happened in Tyler, Texas, where I had an afternoon off during a media tour. I’ll admit, I did take a mulligan on a couple of holes (just one allowed a hole), but this was still a major breakthrough in my golf game. I even lipped out what would have been my first birdie on a Par 4.
• Fairly strong start to the new season of Survivor. It’s another Fans vs. Favorites season, with several entertaining characters back. Hopefully the early momentum continues.
• I got a new Samsung Galaxy 3 for my birthday and I LOVE it! It’s ridiculously fast and has a great battery life. Hopefully this one won’t crash and burn after15 months like my other phones seem to have done in the past.
• Apparently Taiwan takes the World Baseball Classic a little more seriously than Americans do, which would explain why they used a bit of espionage to spy on the Koreans.
• Finally, scientists are becoming convinced that a giant meteor did indeed wipe out the dinosaurs.
But why are there no giant animals on the world today? Jose Canseco has an answer…and Bill Nye has a response!
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!