Scam sign

 I was working late last night when I gave my email a final check and found a message from my cousin Mark with the subject line: ”Phillippine Trip…….Help!!! Mark”

His message went on to say (verbatim): “I’m sorry i didn’t inform you before leaving, Few days back my family and I made an unannounced  vacation trip to Makati Philippine. Everything was going fine until last night when we were  mugged on our way back to the  hotel.They Stole all our cash,credit cards and cellphone but thank God we  still have our lives and passports safe. The  hotel manager has been unhelpful to us for reasons i don’t know.I’m writing you from a local library.

 I’ve reported to the police and after writing down some statements that’s the last i had from them.i contacted the  consulate and all i keep hearing is they will get back to me. Our return flight leaves soon…I need you to help me out  with a fast loan to settle our bills here so we can get back home . I’ll refund the money as soon as we get back. All i need is $1,750 USD..Let me know what you can do so I can tell you how to get the money to me.

 I owe you alot.

 Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by the mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of crap by the clean end.”

As scams go, this one was strictly amateur hour. In desperate need of an editor, the grammar, spelling and puntuation errors were a jarring pileup on Interstate Sloppy.

As for that final scrambled sign-off, whatever possible meaning could that scammer have been attempting to convey?

 Cute the “ALL I need is $1,750” as though the amount is but a drop in the bucket for a rich American like moi. Mark and I share the same last name so the scammer could have hoped I was his moneybags, loving granny. Reports show these scams are most successful when grandparents are the family members targeted to get their beloved grandchildren out of woeful, expensive jams in foreign places.

As it happened I knew Mark was not writing from some Manila library because I had just received an email from him the day before bubbling with enthusiasm not for the Philippines but for a revolutionary new computer.

Mark is, by the way, the second person in my family to get their Yahoo email address high-jacked by scammers. Not good. (Are you listening, Marissa Mayer?) I’ll be sticking with gmail for now, thank you.

This particular scam seems to currently be making the rounds. Only last week I read a about a grandmother who was stopped by a Wal-Mart employee from wiring a hefty chunk of money to who she thought was her grandson in dire trouble and financial distress in some distant place. Pressed to check the story out first, the grandmother discovered her grandson comfortably ensconced in his usual home hangout.

Here are some tips to help steer you away from various scam tracks

Have you ever been approached by one of these fast money digital thieves?

 More on the Skullduggery Slopes: