From time-to-time we receive calls from people who received an email from a friend who is supposedly stranded in a foreign country and they need money to get back home. The recipient of the email then calls the stranded friend but the call is not answered immediately so they panic and they call us to investigate if their friend is home or out of the country.
On a side note, we have asked why they don’t call the authorities but the general responses range from fear of the police, to concerns of not being taken seriously by authorities, or they want to be sure something is wrong before they involve police to spare their friend’s family from unnecessary worry only to find out later that all was well all along.
Today we received the following email from someone who does business with Miami PSPI, LLC:
“Hello, I Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Melitopol(Ukraine).i got mugged and all my belongings cash,cellphone and credit cards were all stolen at "gun point".It's such a traumatic experience for me.i need your help flying back home as I am trying to raise some money.i have made contact with my bank but the best they can do is to mail me a new card which will take 2-3 days to arrive here.I need you to lend me some money to sort my self out of this predicament, I promise to make the refund once I get back home, you are my last resort and hope.”
I replied by stating that I was worried and wanted to help. This was their response verbatim:
"Glad you replied back, I'm still stranded out here in Melitopol(Ukraine). A friend was willing to help with his credit card earlier, but the hotel credit card facility is down, I need about £1,350 to sort out the bills and have my tickets straightened out, but any amount you send will go a long way for me, you can have it wired to me through Money Gram or Western Union Transfer so that I can receive it in minutes, below are the details you need to make the transfer.
RECEIVER'S NAME: XXXXXXX (omited the name of the person who was hacked)
Address: Dorogozhitska St 1 Kiev, 02002
Once it is done kindly send me the confirmation details for the pickup of funds, please let me know how soon you can have it done. I promise to refund the money back including the TRANSFER CHARGES."
Here is a link to the printed emil: LINK
I did not send any money but I wanted to let you know what kind of response to expect.
The FBI advises that a recipient of such an email should do the following:
Claims of Being Stranded Swindle Consumers Out of Thousands of Dollars
07/01/10—The IC3 continues to receive reports of individuals’ e-mail or social networking accounts being compromised and used in a social engineering scam to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars. Portraying to be the victim, the hacker uses the victim’s account to send a notice to their contacts. The notice claims the victim is in immediate need of money due to being robbed of their credit cards, passport, money, and cell phone; leaving them stranded in London or some other location. Some claim they only have a few days to pay their hotel bill and promise to reimburse upon their return home. A sense of urgency to help their friend/contact may cause the recipient to fail to validate the claim, increasing the likelihood of them falling for this scam.
If you receive a similar notice and are not sure it is a scam, you should always verify the information before sending any money.
If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other Cyber crime, you can report it to the IC3 website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3 complaint database links complaints for potential referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns.
If you would like to find out about additional FBI scam warnings, click on this FBI-LINK.
I hope you have found this information helpful. Please call Miami PSPI, LLC for all your process service and private investigative needs.
Miami PSPI, LLC