Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Beware of Phishing

I had not seen my mail yesterday. Today, when I saw a mail from a very dear friend, I was happy. I opened it in a hurry to find that he was in some mess and needed money. I hit the reply button to assure him that I would put things in motion immediately to send him the money.

He had gone to an African country as a member of a UN mission and had lost his wallet and cards and needed the money to get out of the place.

As I started typing the reply, all sorts of red lights started going off in my head. If he was on a UN mission, why would he ask
me for money? He must be having other team members with him who would help him.

The spellings were all wrong. OK, could that be because he was under pressure?

The mail ID from which the mail had originated was different from the one that the reply screen had.

The give away, however, was that his profuse protestations assuring me that he would return my money as soon as he was back in India. If he needed money, we are too close a pair of friends for him to be so reassuring. We go back more than thirty years.

I slowed down and scrolled up the inbox. I found another mail from him telling me that his ID was hacked and I should ignore the earlier mail.

I called him, half way across India, to be told that he had received a mail purportedly from his mail service provider asking him for his login and password and he had given them!!!

Of course, it was from Nigeria. Phishing and Nigeria are so closely linked that they are almost synonymous. So, beware. Anything out of Nigeria nowadays is suspect.

What a pity that I wrote of my childhood hero from Nigeria in an earlier post and have to write this now!!!



  1. "...
    What a pity that I wrote of my childhood hero from Nigeria in an earlier post and have to write this now!!!..."
    Generalization! Generalization!

    At the same time, that was a clever attempt to first check all your e-mails before actually sending "him" the money! :-)

  2. Chalo,baal baal bach gaye !!!

    -- Nagraj.

  3. Anonymous3:00 pm

    I would ask you for more than what was mentioned in the hackers Email. And to be precised our friendship has been for 35 years.From the hundreds of email contacts you were the only one to respond at my possible distressed situation .Thats a reminder of good friends.Thanks to hackers!!