Scammed

I hadn’t heard from “Bob” for more than two years, and I was thrilled to get his e-mail a few days ago:

Bob Brown <……………….@………..com>
 
Hello,
 
How are you doing ? I hope this Email finds you well?
 
I need a little favour from you.
 
Thanks
 
My first thought?  Bob!  Of course I’ll help you.  I answered immediately.
 
Hi Bob,
 
I’m glad to hear from you. It’s been so long.
 
Sure … ask away.
 
And then an immediate reply:
 
Thanks for your response.  I am sorry for bothering you with this mail.  I need to get a Google Play Gift Card for my friend’s Daughter, It’s her birthday but I can’t do this now because I’m currently away and I tried purchasing online but unfortunately had no luck with that.  Can you help purchase it online or from any store around you?  I’ll pay back as soon as I am back.   Kindly let me know if you can handle this. I promise to refund as soon as I’m back. 

Thanks
 
I so much wanted to be helpful …
 
Yes, I’ll buy the card.  How much money am I putting on it?
 
Quick like a bunny came a response:
 
Thank you very much.  The Total amount needed is $300 ($100 or $50 denomination ) you can have it purchased from any store around you (Gas station, Walmart, Drug Store) or Online.  I need you to scratch the back of each card to reveal the pin, then take a snapshot of the back showing the pin and have them sent to me via my email.  So I can forward them to her with some Birthday Wishes.

Once again thanks.
 
Oh, I’m such a nice guy!
 
I’ll get some gas today and pick up the cards.  Stay tuned …
 
“Bob” was totally tuned in:
 
I will be expecting.  Once again thanks
 
I got to work on the task at hand …
 
Here you go, Bob!  You friend’s daughter will be very happy.  (complete with a photo of six $50 Google Play Gift Cards, with the codes revealed via thorough scratching)
 
I imagined the girl’s squeal of delight.
 
Thanks so much.  I really appreciate it.  I have forwarded the card to my friend’s Daughter, she was very happy you need to see her email but kids will always be kids she is really holding me to my promise because i told her i had do anything for her on her Birthday.  she just emailed me that the cards weren’t enough to complete what she had to do with it .  Please can you render me one more favour and I promise to pay back as soon as I am back.  I need you to help me purchase another gift card worth $300 ($100 or $50 denomination) so she could complete what she has to with it.
 
Thanks once again let me know when you purchase them and I promise as soon as I am back I will refund your cash. 
 
Thanks 
 
***
 
That’s enough of the sordid details.  I remained completely oblivious to what was really happening.  Somehow I’m smiling as I write this.  I was so eager to talk to Bob again and help him out that my rational mind went to sleep.  I do believe that the word for me is naïve … thoroughly so.
 
Here are the clues that blew right by this clueless human being:
 
1. “Bob” never called me “Bruce”.
 
2.  Throughout the correspondence, “Bob” showed an unusual use of capitalization (or lack thereof) … e.g.  Daughter, Total, Gas station, Birthday Wishes, i told her i had …
 
3.  “Bob” was “away” but why would he have “no luck” with buying these cards online?
 
4.  “Bob” was giving his friend’s daughter a gift of $300 ($600).  That sure sounds excessive.
 
5.  Unusual phrases within the e-mails, not the way Bob would speak: e.g. I’ll pay back, I will be expecting, i told her i had do anything for her, so she could complete what she has to with it
 
***
 
I am humbled
 
I still trust my fellow man and woman
 
I need to have my eyes open
 
(Sigh)

Hacked

I’m not a suspicious person, or apparently a very careful one.

Yesterday I opened Facebook and saw a new communication in Messenger. It was from a friend whom I haven’t talked to for months. I was thrilled. There sat a video with the caption “Look what I found.” There was a tiny picture of some guy. Was that me? Had my friend dug up an old moment that we’d had way back in the past? I clicked. Nothing happened. (Sigh) I sent him a message saying that I couldn’t open the video. Our reunion would just have to wait.

That was the full extent of my thought process: communication delayed, curiosity unsatisfied. And so to sleep.

Then there was 7:54 this morning. I was having breakfast right then, blissfully unaware of the events in Cyberland. At that moment, for my entire address book, I believe, a video showed up in inboxes, declaring “Look what I found.” It was hours later that I realized lots of folks were trying to get hold of me.

Did you send me a video?

I can’t open your video

Looks suspicious to me

You’ve been hacked, my friend

Then a really big sigh. I wasn’t thinking clearly for the first few minutes but I finally decided to phone Facebook. I soon found out that such an action is virtually impossible. “Okay, then … change your password.” Of course! “And how exactly do I do that?” I fumbled around in Facebook menus for awhile before giving up. And then a magic word came to mind: Google. Lo and behold, a short YouTube video appeared in my life, voiced by a nice-sounding guy. I wasn’t in full control of my rational mind but I soon had a new password. I know I can trust you so here it is:

*************

I sort of sighed in relief, and figured out that I should phone my computer guy. Would he be working on Saturday? I called … and he answered. He said that all I could do was change my password (Done!) and warn everyone to not open the video. (The next part is my personal favourite) Brain matter swirling, I didn’t have a clue about how to let people know. My techy friend, ever patient, simply said “Post it on Facebook.”

I’m fascinated by my inability to figure that out on my own. Having said that, I posted. But the Messenger communications kept arriving. I answered them all.

I’m sad that my eagerness to connect with an old friend has led to so many people being at minimum inconvenienced, and perhaps severely hacked. Am I allowed to sigh a fourth time?

On we go

P.S. I just went to Facebook to post this and found out that the warning message I sent this afternoon went only to me! Arghh. I just changed it to “Public”. (Sigh number five)