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Sat May 1, 2021, 08:16 AM

Please help: Is this an email scam? (I think I know the answer)

I just can't believe a scammer got this person's personal email. He was a mentor/boss of mine and a really important person in my life. He is quite elderly and never writes unless it is something important:

I received this email from him last night:

How are you doing? Are you busy? I need a little favor from you.
>
> Thanks so much Bob smith

I thought maybe it had something to do with the passing of Eli Broad, who he knew. I wrote back:

Dear Bob,

Absolutely. Never too busy for you.

I'll leave my email up onscreen today, or you can call (my phone number) or I can call you at whatever number you'd like. I hope everything is OK with you and your wonderful family.

I get up very early so there's no such thing as contacting me "too early."

Was saddened to see the news overnight about the passing of Eli Broad. I imagine you had many dealings with Mr. Broad over the years, and I'm sorry for your loss.

Warm regards,

And "Bob" wrote back:

I'm sorry for bothering you, I really do need your assistance with purchasing (Google Play Gift Card) for my friend who is a cancer patient . She's a year older today, I promised her a Google Play Gift Card as a birthday gift but I can't do this right now because I'm currently traveling and i tried purchasing it online but unfortunately no luck with that.

wondering if you could get it from any store around you ? I'll pay it back as soon as am back. Please let me know if you can handle this

Thank you so much Bob smith

***

So, I'm pretty sure this is not Bob and I'm angry with myself for falling for it and giving this person my phone number.

Has anyone else received an email like this? Is it definitely a scam? I just need a reality check from an objective third party, because this is a person I would do anything for and I want to be absolutely positive it is a scam.

Thank you.

EDIT: Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Normally I wouldn't bother DUers over something like this, but this scammer was playing on my emotions by posing as this particular person. Just needed to make absolutely sure. DUers are the best, most helpful people on the planet.



EDIT 2: Back in the day, Bob's emails really were like this: short and to the point, only moderately punctuated. He lost vision in one eye, which made it harder for him to write, and in any event he was always rather impatient about communicating in writing.

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Please help: Is this an email scam? (I think I know the answer) (Original post)
Mike 03 May 1 OP
True Dough May 1 #1
Mike 03 May 1 #3
EYESORE 9001 May 1 #2
Mike 03 May 1 #4
Mike 03 May 1 #6
EYESORE 9001 May 1 #9
Treefrog May 1 #5
Mike 03 May 1 #7
2naSalit May 1 #11
TreasonousBastard May 1 #8
Sherman A1 May 1 #10
2naSalit May 1 #12
intrepidity May 1 #13
multigraincracker May 1 #14
mercuryblues May 1 #15
bamagal62 May 1 #16
samnsara May 1 #17
petronius May 1 #18
mitch96 May 1 #19
NNadir May 1 #20
sarge43 May 1 #21
dixiegrrrrl May 1 #22

Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:20 AM

1. It has the hallmarks of being a scam

The request to purchase a Google Play Gift Card is always a tell-tale sign and some excuse why they cannot buy it themselves.

I'd stay away from that email chain.

Are you able to give Bob a call to confirm?

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Response to True Dough (Reply #1)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:23 AM

3. Thank you.

Yeah, it just doesn't seem right. I don't think Bob travels much any more.

I will try to find a number for him. It's a situation where he was very influential and we were close for a long period of time but that was almost 20 years ago and rarely have had contact since (unfortunately).

Thank you for your post.

I wonder if I should now block that email address. I can't believe I gave him my phone number.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:22 AM

2. The whole scenario practically oozes scamminess

The request for a gift card is a dead giveaway.

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Response to EYESORE 9001 (Reply #2)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:25 AM

4. Thanks. It is totally out of character for Bob to request this. He has a lot of kids and a

wonderful wife who could do something like that, and probably a personal assistant or two.

It stinks.

I appreciate the reality check. Just had to make sure.

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Response to EYESORE 9001 (Reply #2)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:25 AM

6. I should ask him his wife's name and see if he knows.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #6)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:27 AM

9. As sophisticated as recent scams have become

the scammer may know the answer.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:25 AM

5. Scam for sure.

Maybe you should call this guy and let him know his email is being used?

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Response to Treefrog (Reply #5)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:26 AM

7. I will do that.

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Response to Treefrog (Reply #5)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:41 AM

11. +1

I would call and discuss the event with Bob. I do that whenever something like that comes up, just call and make sure they sent it, before responding in any way via return email to the one you received.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:27 AM

8. Yep. A common scam. Last year I got an SMS message from someone I know very well...

Started out just "Bill, I need a favor".

A couple of messages later-- "Get me 3 $100 gift cards from Target...

Scam. But they got my phone # and that name from somewhere. Probably a hacked phone company, or hacked email list.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:29 AM

10. If you have to ask if it is a scam

then it is a scam.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #10)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:42 AM

12. +1

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:44 AM

13. It doesn't take much for a scammer to get someone's email

Everybody who appears in someone's "Contacts" list is vulnerable, which is to say: everybody.

One should never judge a suspicious email based on who it appears to be coming from, and the fact that a scammer has someone's email addy is absolutely no reflection on that person's cybersecurity practices. All "Bob Smith" had to do was appear in the contact list of somebody who was compromised/hacked, something that none of us has any control over.

Yeah, it sucks that you gave your phone number. But, if it really is your friend Bob, ask him to call you to verify and that you'll gladly help then. Bet he doesn't call.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:44 AM

14. For the first time I got a Text scam, be careful.

Got a text from the unemployment office telling me there is a problem with my unemployment account. I retired 20 years ago, so most likely 30 years ago I filed for UE. The phone number for the text was Colorado and I live in Michigan.
Blocked the number on my phone.

I did stop getting phone calls from unknown scams. 2 months ago I started answering unknown phone calls with "Detective Cracker, what do you have". After a few seconds I'd say "run this call Bob". then I'd get hung up on. must have done that 5 times. Have not got any unknown calls for a month now.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 08:52 AM

15. 100%, definitely a scam

I rad about this exact scam a few months ago. The thing is once a person buys the card, they ask for more. Ther isn't a legal avenue the scammed can take, because the voluntarily bought the card and mailed them off.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 09:02 AM

16. Do you have the address? maybe we can all send them "cards"!

(Or, a message on a card!)

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 09:56 AM

17. i got that same type of message via messanger..from someone I hadnt really been friends with....

..asking me to get back to them. DO NOT reply! you get snagged and then that same letter goes out to others in your contact list with YOU requesting the urgent contact. I finally had to close out messenger because i was getting so many responses from those in my contact list telling me I had been hacked.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 11:33 AM

18. I get those pretty frequently, usually pretending to be from my department chair

It's a common scam.

The most elaborate one I've gotten recently was an email, ostensibly from the dept chair, with a malicious attachment purporting to be an evaluation form for a new colleague - it referenced the new colleague by name and was cc'd to the other people who actually would evaluate this person. Quite creepy, the lengths scammers will go to...

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 11:36 AM

19. "How are you doing? Are you busy?" this intro shows up in my spam bucket about once a month.

Dump it quick... Cynical me... anytime a stranger acts over friendly in the intro.......
don't walk run from the scam...
m

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 11:37 AM

20. I get a lot of scam emails at work. People look at my Linkedin connections...

...dig up the email of someone on it, and then send me a document which appears to come from that person that requires me to enter my email password to open it.

I actually fell for it once, but fortunately software caught it and I was able to change my password quickly.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:32 PM

21. Yeah, it's a scam

I've seen a couple of YT vids about this.

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Response to Mike 03 (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 11:19 PM

22. got similar scam from a "friend"



she had yahoo account, Yahoo addys were hacked and stolen, and weeks later I got a similar email as yours that she wanted me to go get a bunch of gift cards because she was traveling, etc.
They said it was for a "niece" birthday.

I know her well enuff that it rang false immediately.

but....problem was that was her email addy, so could not email her to tell her.
I called. she had gotten dozens of calls.

Get a gift card is the the big give away.

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