December 22nd, 2009


Email scam

I was surprised to receive this distressing message just now, ostensibly from one of my cousins:
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There are numerous clues here to indicate that the message is a fake, the first being that it was sent to me at all - if one of my Irish cousins was really stuck in Manchester, there are at least a dozen other mutual relatives whom it would be more sensible to contact than me. Note also the complete lack of corroborating details (name of hotel, identification of embassy, salutation of recipient). Also my cousin is, as far as I know, unlikely to need to make a research trip to Manchester.

Assuming that my cousin's email address has been hacked, it would be rather pointless to reply to the scam artist - or are these emails simply sent as harassment, without the expectation of pecuniary gain? I have alerted my aunt and my cousin's sister, since they all live in the same town, and suggested that the Gardai also be alerted. Though I guess there is a good chance that the hacker lives a long way outside their jurisdiction.

Edited to add [ten hours later, sorry, I've been busy] the message originated from which is an IP address registered to Zoom Mobile, a telcom company in, surprise surprise, Nigeria.