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BBB Alert: Emergency email from friend or foe?

This scam has been publicized on TV and several variations have been recently circulated. Also known as the grandparents scam, the foremost feature of the scam is a friend or family member who sends an email about a financial dilemma they are facing while travelling. The common thread of these scams is the request for funds to be wired immediately to the traveler so that they may extricate themselves from the problem. Frighteningly, the email below was actually signed by a good friend of the recipient. Sharing personal information through social networking or other searchable sites could provide the source. The awkward wording is another red flag.

How are you? Hope all is well with you and I pray this email finds you in good health. I am sorry that I didnít tell you about me leaving for a conference here in London but it was spur of the moment. I really hate to ask you but I need a favor from you because I was mugged at the park of the hotel where I stayed. All cash, credit card and cell phones were stolen off me but luckily for me I still have my passport with me. I've been to the Embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all. My flight leaves in a few hours from now but I'm having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let me leave until I settle the bills.

I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with. I'll pay you back as soon as I return. Kindly let me know if you can be of help so that I can send you the details to use when sending this money to me. Thank you for your concern and help. You know I wouldnít contact you like this if it wasnít an emergency. Write back right away, Iím really scared.