Monday, March 15, 2010

Friends and Scams

In Scam Friend news:

I haven't heard back from that teacher-'friend'. I'm assuming this means that there's some kind of personal problem, since if it was something professionally she would probably have just made the suggestion to me the last time we saw each other. Ironically, I am less upset about it the longer she waits to respond. Pretty soon I'm not going to care at all. I do not have time to stress over people who obviously do not care for the feelings of others. The email I wrote asked very contritely if there was something I had done wrong, personally or professionally, and apologized for anything I might have done (even though I can't think of anything, I thought it better to be safe than sorry), so if she's not adult enough to at least respond, I guess it's not worth worrying over. Whatever. I'll be working at the school tomorrow in a first grade class again, so maybe I'll see her. In retrospect, maybe last year when she was sharing information with me that would help my case against Josie's teacher, I should have taken it as a lack of professionalism rather than an act of friendship.

In Friend, Scammed news:

My friend, C, who is awesome, had a terrible scare happen to her family last week. Her nephew lives in China with his Chinese-born wife, and was in the process of moving to Shanghai. On Monday, my friend's elderly mother got a call from her nephew saying that they were in Montreal on vacation, and had been kidnapped, and that she shouldn't call the police, but send $2k right away to some wire address or they were going to be killed. Of course, she was terrified, and withdrew the money the next day. When she went to Walmart to try and send it via Western Union, the customer service agent refused, saying that they weren't allowed to send large amounts of money anymore because there are so many scams going around. This made her even more terrified, because she then assumed that her nephew and his wife were going to be killed.

As it turned out, however, the woman at Walmart was right - it was a scam, but they didn't find out until Friday afternoon, five days after the initial threatening call. They did eventually call the police, and they were finally able to reach the nephew, which is how they found out for sure that everything was OK. The questions remain, though, how this person knew to call my friend's mom, knew she was his aunt, knew the nicknames he called her and her husband, knew that the guy was unreachable for a week, etc. Part of the reason it was so believable, aside from the fact that he's an American in China where who knows what can happen, was because they knew so much, and sounded (to an old lady) so much like him. Even though everyone is safe, they are obviously still very freaked out and scared, because this means that either it's someone that they know, who is an extremely sick individual, or it's someone who has been tapping in on their phone calls and learning all this stuff about them, and now probably can and has looked up all kinds of personal information on them. This has to be the worst scam I've ever personally heard of.


AndreAnna said...

OMG, that is SO scary!!!!

d e v a n said...

I've heard of scams like that originating from FB, people can see who your family is, learn your name, location, and if you're out of town, etc...