Sunday, June 5, 2011


Source: Straits Times 4 June 2011
This is too important not to share - my first encounter with spear phishing. It's a new and rapidly spreading form of fraud that comes as an email from people you know like your family members, colleagues or friends. Google has acknowledged on Wednesday that it is aware of attempts to steal hundreds of gmail passwords and hack into gmail accounts.

The Telegraph Sunday 5 June
This email below almost got me fooled because it 'came' from a good friend. I received it a few days ago. It had my ex-college mate's familiar email address. As I continued reading I knew for sure the email was a scam. Linda has contributed articles to Seniorsaloud. It was unlike her to make so many glaring grammatical errors. The desperate plea for money to be sent to her in Greece sounded suspicious to me.

I'm reproducing the email here in case you receive similar emails purportedly from someone you know. DO NOT RESPOND TO IT.

Hello ,

I 'm sure you are okay. Apology for contacting you in this manner.Sorry I didn't inform you about my trip to Athens. It was an urgent business/seminar trip. I'm stranded in serious mess here in Greece.It is not easy to be stranded abroad. I was attacked on my way to the hotel I lodged, although I wasn't hurt because I complied immediately to their demand.

My mobile phone and luggage were stolen. My Credit Cards and some other vital documents were inside my luggage. I have called my credit card company to blocked all my cards.I have also been to the embassy to report the case.The embassy promised to take the necessary measures. Aside these, I need to sort out some vital issues including my bills.

Please I want to ask you for a favor.I need financial assistance urgently. I would like you to help me with 2000$.I will refund you with interest upon my arrival back home.If you can't be able to send me the whole 2000$,please,send any amount you can afford.I am in urgent need of Money to sort out some bills.

It is not a spam or virus message.I am in a critical situation here and needed urgent help.
Send me any amount you can afford using western union money transfer.Find a nearest outlet and send me some money to my name and address below.


Name: Linda Toh
Address: 87 Valaoritou str. ( KOLONAKI )
Athens, Greece .

I appreciate your help and kindness. Please get back to me via my email with the MTCN once you transfer the money.

Many thanks in advance.

Linda Toh

If you are using gmail, you would have received emails like this one:

Just a reminder that you're receiving this email at Google support centre because your registered Account needs to be verified via our website to receive related news and updates for the security of your Account on our new central webmail system. If you would like to login to your account please do send us the details below regarding your Account for confirmation.

Account Name:

Present Location:

Warning! If you would like to continue using Google services, please click on the reply button and email us the aforementioned details immediately for confirmation and validation. We will not accept liability for any loss or damage to your Account. Again we apologize for any inconvenience.

Copyright © 2011, Inc. All rights reserved.

Online scammers are raking in millions duping web-users, in particular, older folks who are new to the internet and who are easily swayed by appeals for financial help. Younger web-users are more likely to fall for get-rich scams like this one below:

Dear Gmail user

Your email emerged a winner of £500,000.00GBP.(CGPN):7-22-71-00-66-12, Ticket number: 00869575733664, Serial numbers:/BTD/8070447706/06, Lucky numbers: 12-12-23-35-40-41(12).

Contact Mr. Bernard Graham for more details:


Ms. Mary Johnson

When unsuspecting recipients of such fraudulent emails respond, their email address is harvested and used in mass emails to their friends asking for financial assistance.

Never disclose your passwords, bank account numbers and PIN numbers to anyone. No legitimate banks, corporations or good friends will ever ask you to email them confidential personal information.

If you ever receive an email from me or Seniorsaloud asking for your personal data or appealing for donation or financial aid, take it from me that I would NEVER EVER send you such an email. Chances are it came from an underground syndicate operating in some Third World country. These scoundrels are skimming off millions from gullible web-users.

Stay vigilant against such scams and scums.


LC Teh said...

Thanks for this warning. I'd like to add one more to your list, although this is not about phishing but viruses. Recently I've been getting emails from well known courier services telling me I have a parcel waiting to be collected complete with a serial numbers and files attached. I was suspicious enough not to click on the attachments. Upon checking with a neighbor familiar with such courier services, he confirmed my suspicions were correct.

Take care.

Pak Idrus said...

Never ever send money to your friends or whoever request through an email, SMS or letter. A true friend would never ask for a loan of money. To me when a friend ask for a loan it is the beginning of the END of such friendship.

Recently I got a request for loan for a FB 'friend' and later I found the same person had send similar request to other FB Friends. My advice is to just ignore it and I had posted a warning in my FB wall to that effect.

Thanks lily for reminding. Take care.

seniorsaloud said...

Thanks for the alert, Teh. I've received similar emails from Exxon, NASA, even my local banks! All scams, of course. Best to ignore all of them.

seniorsaloud said...

You are right, Pak Idrus. One can never be too careful. Better to say 'No' to a 'friend' than to say 'Yes' to a conman. There are plenty of them around, especially on social networking sites. They also love to target lonely older women with declarations of love. Next thing you know these Romeos have tricked the women into giving them their savings.