Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A new twist on spam ... does this amount to blackmail?

I receive a lot of spam and phishing emails, many telling a very sad story, but the one I received this morning takes the cake. It appears designed to prey on gullible pro-lifers. I am the latter, but hopefully not the former.

Here is the email I received this morning:

From: fira moga [mailto:mogafira1@gmail.comSent: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 1:03 AMTo: Larry Short - USSubject: urgent helloo my name is firanol am from Ethiopia I am christian and i do have girl friend accidentally my girl friend got pregnant and now she has an appointment to abbort it. we are both student now am inviting you to save this child please help us not to commit this sinfull act. we need money to grow this child and she need comfirmation from me if i can get money to grow up this child am doing this with faith because your mission in this world is to save life and make jesus happy and your comfirmation for the reality is holly sprit. am waiting for your response may be you are the one to save this child may be this is not the right place for this message but you can invite others who can do this

I originally considered simply tossing the email into the spam folder, but after some thought and prayer, I replied as follows:

No, my friend, YOU (and your girlfriend) are the only ones who can make such a decision to save your child’s life. (If indeed there is a child at stake here, and this is not a scam, as it appears.) I would happily give all that I own to do this, if it were true, but obviously I do not know you and cannot determine whether that’s the case. And, certainly it would not be wise to just pay out money to someone I don’t know who makes such a claim on email. This essentially amounts to blackmail. The decision rests with you alone. I am praying that you will do the right thing, and I know that God will take care of you and your family if you do. -          Larry

Have you received email messages like this? How would you respond if you did? What's the most manipulative or heart-wrenching scam email you've ever received?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Larry,

Debra (GMOcl) here. Great blog! I've been enjoying reading through some of the older posts.

Scam emails? I get a lot of them. The most heart wrenching was of a family that got burned out of their home and the grandmother had cancer and was dying. Now, the address was from Africa and I read all the time about the horrors that ISIS/Boko Haram are inflicting on the people in various parts of Africa, so I thought it could be legitimate. However, it would take a whole lot for me to send money to some unknown person in an unknown place. If I had truly believed it not to be a scam, I would have suggested they get a hold of one of the missions in their area. Samaritans Purse, Open Doors USA, Mercy Corps, etc.

I'm sure that most of these emails as you say are scammers. Perhaps asking them to give every detail about themselves and then sending that onto the FBI Internet investigation unit would bring either a halt to it or some truth to it. I have done this in the past if I receive more than one from the same person. However, I have yet to receive a response from the FBI that anything was solved, only that they received it. And it did stop the scam emails. Just a thought.