I received a desperate email from a well-spoken PR professional in the technology space this morning. His belongings were robbed at gunpoint in Wales and the local police and US embassy could not assist him. Moreover, the hotel was supposedly holding him ransom because he couldn’t pay for his bill. I checked the email account and it was the Gmail address associated with this person. But still the email looked like one of the scams we all get so I was suspicious. There were many grammar and capitalization issues which screamed – “this is not from a PR professional.” But then again who knows how one’s mastery of language can be altered after having their belongings seized.
I decided to call the person and found out his Gmail account was hacked and he can no longer access it. Apparently people who respond via email are being asked to send money. Here is the exact email with no corrections so if you see it you can avoid responding:
It is with deep sorrow and broken heart that am sending you this mail. Am in deep need and my situation is lamentable. my family and I decide to come visit Wales,United Kingdom for a short vacation. To our greatest dismay we were attacked and ripped apart at the park of the hotel where we were lodging,all cash,credit cards and mobiles were forcefully robbed off us at gun point but we still have our passports with us.
We’ve seek help at embassy and high commission,the Police too, unfortunately they have been unable to help or offer any reasonable support whatsoever. Our flight leaves in couple of hour from now but we are being held to ransom by the hotel management because we cannot settle the hotel bills. It is clear we would not be allowed to leave until we do so. Word cannot explain the anguish in my heart now. I am in need of immediate assistance.