Here’s a new type of scam that I came across yesterday. I received an email from what looked like an artist that I listed in an art directory that I look after. I was suspicious immediately, but they did a lot of things right, which could have fooled those that are new to the internet (or much more trusting of people than I am).
The artist (Linda Blondheim) was using a Hotmail email address, which was hacked and stolen by scammers in Nigeria. The scammers then set out to scam her friends and contacts using her Hotmail email address, asking for money as she was stranded in Africa and needed $2300 to get back home.
It’s easily one of the cleverest scams I have received from the idiots. I was familiar with the name of the artist and they were using her real email address, but the mention of “Nigeria” and “Money” in the same email gave the scammers away. Legitimate businesses in Nigeria (if there is such a thing) must have a lot of problems dealing with international clients/customers as these scammers have given the whole country such a bad name worldwide. I know it’s wrong to generalise, but I wouldn’t deal with anyone from Nigeria as I don’t trust them.. and for good reason.
Here’s the email that I received..
Subject: Reply Soon…From Linda
How are you doing today? I am sorry i didn’t inform you about my traveling to Africa for a program called “Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education, the program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which is Ghana , South Africa and Nigeria . It as been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain.
I am really stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I am owing an hotel bill of $1050 and they want me to pay the bill before checking out,Else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management.
I need this help from you urgently to help me get back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1250 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $2300 to sort out my problems here? I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here, I don’t even have money to feed myself for a day which means i have been starving so please understand how urgent i need your help.
I am sending you this e-mail from the city Library and I only have 30 min, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home so please let me know on time so that i can forward you the details you need to transfer the money through Money Gram or Western Union.Hope to hear from you.love,Linda
Advantages to Visiting Linda Blondheim’s Studio
Patron Club members receive excellent pricing on in studio and web site purchases.
Gift wrapping and gift cards are complimentary to patrons.
Delivery of larger paintings to Lake City, Gainesville, and Ocala areas free of charge.
Studio gift certificates for new patron referrals.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and visit with a professional established painter just minutes from Gainesville.
Note: The email above was Linda Blondheim’s real email address used for this scam, but she has since changed it. See her website or blog above for her new contact information.