The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Jul 17, 2010


Yesterday I got an email from a fellow blogger saying he was in London, and had been mugged, and was upset by it all, and couldn't get any help from the police, and was late for his flight back. Only days earlier I had had emails from him, and he hadn't told me he was going to be here. But what if it had been a last minute trip? So I wrote back asking if he was all right, and if I could help in any way.

The response was prompt. He had internet access only, he said, as his phone and wallet had been stolen. Thanks for writing back, he said. If you can send me £1271, that would cover the hotel bill, and the taxi fare to the airport.

Hmm, I thought, this is serious. Which hotel are you at? I asked. Royal Park, he said. Have you checked out? I said. No, he said. I called the hotel and asked to be connected to him. They had no person by that name staying there, either yesterday or in the past several days.

Aha, I thought. The man's email's been hacked. A scamster on my hands! I rubbed them with glee. If you can send the funds by Western Union, he said, I promise to pay you back when I get home. Let me know if you are sending the money now?

Sure, I said. Which Western Union location will you be at? The bloody fool sent me an address in Wales. I cooked up a Western Union confirmation number and sent it to him. I'm checking online, he said, but the number is not recognised. Can you send me your details?

Western Union told me that all you'll need is the confirmation number, and your ID, I said.

Then I called Maddy. He, of course, was still in the US, fielding calls from frightened pals all over the world. He told me that the scamster had been quite fiendish in his hack. Not only had the villain changed the password, he had changed all the other secondary identifications that the owner could use to reset the email account.

An hour or so later, Maddy managed to re-establish control over his email, and sent an email asking everyone to disregard it.

Ooh, I replied. You ruined it just as I was having fun with the bugger.

Later I got a slightly urgent email from the scamster. It was timestamped before Maddy got his account back.

I went to the Western Union office, said the blackguard. They told me there was no such confirmation number. Please check and let me have the correct one.

I sure do hope he trekked across to Prestatyn to get the moolah. That would be a small mercy for all the angst he caused.


km said...

So a splendid time was had by all. (Except for the poor hacker, of course.)

Could one have set him up to meet Wales' Finest at the designated WU branch? That would have been *so* cool.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is scary. Must go and change my passwords RIGHT NOW!

Btw, apparently I write like James Joyce and Dan Brown...

Fëanor said...

KM: I'm a bit wary of that fellow's Welsh credentials. According to Maddy, he tracked the hacker to Nigeria. Still, it would have been useful to catch him in the act.

Chasingbawa: That website only seems to have a handful of writers in its database, so almost everyone appears to be James Joyce!

Maddy said...

thanks feanor - the hackers work in tandem. the guys in nigeria does the hit and run on the mobile network. Once he gets a few replies and a number of MTCN's he sends his local goondah associate in UK to pick up the cash for a % of the proceeds. They know the terrain well. But the part 2 is done only later when the coast is clear and he is sure that there are no trackers..

??! said...

Ha! This happened to a friend of mine a couple of years back. The minute they said WU, a few of us went 'Scam'.

We then sent back jokes to the email, saying this would help to keep them smiling. And collectively declared ourselves bankrupt. Hacker was not amused.

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