How can anyone believe these scams?

Be scam aware, especially with email scams that want money sent overseas to a family in "trouble"

“Hello, I really hope you get this fast, My family and I came down here to (Manila Philippines) for a short vacation, unfortunately we got attacked by some unknown gunmen last night. All our money,phones and credit cards was stolen away, It was a terrible experience but the good thing is they didn’t hurt anyone or made away with our passports.

We have reported the incident to the Embassy and the Police, we were ask to come back in 2weeks time for investigations to be made proper,But the truth is we can’t wait till then as we have just got our return flight booked and is leaving in few hours from now. I need your help financially to get back home, I need to settle some outstanding hotel bills and also take a cab to the airport.All we need is($1,900) Western Union Transfer is the fastest option to wire the funds to me. Please let me know if you can help me out?I promise to refund it when i get home.

Thanks.Dxxxx”

The sender uses the name of someone I recognize from her active civic involvement but we are not bosom buddies. We last met as I arrived at Canadian Tire to buy moss killer; she was leaving carrying a flat of seedlings.

Even at a time of financial trouble such as this, I can’t imagine my name being anywhere on Dxxxxx’s list of possible lenders. Nor would I possess the most discretionary funds.

Also, the Dxxxxx I know, regardless of extenuating circumstances, would never send anyone an email chock full of grammar and spelling errors such as this — “credit cards was stolen, didn’t hurt anyone or made away with passports, we were ask to come back” and uncapitalized pronoun “i”. From reading my columns and Terrace Standard comments Dxxxxx would know such slips of grammar irritate me unduly; not the surest way to pry greenbacks from my bank account.

Furthermore, how realistic is it that everything was stolen except passports? Odd, seems to me, given the value of Canadian passports among international crooks.

And “robbed by unknown gunmen”. Would robbery by known gunmen have been kinder, less upsetting?

To top it off, Dxxxxx gives no address for sending $1900 to her by Western Union Transfer. Manila population 1,652 million isn’t Hazelton, population 270.

Does she expect me to email back and forth for her address besides withdrawing more than a month’s pension from the bank before toddling over to Safeway’s service desk to wire the funds to her? Really!

Instead of responding to Dxxxxx, I forwarded the email to local RCMP at angela.rabut@rcmp-grc.gc.ca then to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at info@antifraudcentre.ca. I could have phoned 1-888-495-8401 but I detest holding.

The website www.phonebusters.com offers information on a range of active scams, old and new.

I do no banking online, but I do have a Visa debit card authorized for a small weekly withdrawal. I’ve used it with Paypal to order a sweater from L.L. Bean and fountain pen ink from Vancouver Pen Shop.

Nonetheless, I checked with the bank holding my Visa debit card, and Visa to be sure I didn’t have to do more. Visa assured me by deleting the email and not offering any bank account number or Visa code to the scammer, both my account and Visa card were safe from theft.

It turned out, a scammer had hacked into Dxxxxx’s computer and sent the same email willy nilly to all her email contacts in hope one of us would be sufficiently sleep deprived to believe the improbable tale and wire cash before thinking.