Fraud Reminder: NEVER respond to distress emails asking for money

From time to time, yours truly receives emails -seemingly from a friend or colleague – requesting money to get out of a distressful situation abroad.  Today was no exception:

I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. we had to be in Philippines for Tour..The program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. we misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.

I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a short term loan from you ($2,550). this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest.

What has happened is that someone has hacked into an email account – possibly aided by an easy password – and sent the message above to all contacts of the person who was hacked.  Note that such messages often have odd wording, e.g.,  “Please, let me know soonest.” 

If you get such emails, do NOT respond.  You might, however, want to contact the victim and suggest that he/she a) try to get into the account and change the password, and b) notify all contacts that the message was a fraud.

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