Andy logged in to Gmail on Sunday, and his friend Jeff started to chat with him. Things seemed a bit off, but Andy really became suspicious when Jeff asked him to wire $500 to an injured friend in Nigeria. The real Jeff, of course, was off playing XBOX and has no friends in Nigeria. Like the scammers hitting up people’s friends for money via Facebook, thieves can log in to your e-mail and chat accounts, pretending to be you.
I screwed around with him a little bit, but in almost no time he had asked me to help him send money to a friend in Nigeria. Really… I thought it was a buddy of his messing around, but it really was someone trying to get me to send money.
I ended up talking to my friend Jeff on the phone a few minutes later, and he was livid. Turns out he had his Gmail window open, was playing X-box and heard the sound pings of a chat. He was pretty surprised to see there was a full conversation is going on. He has since changed his gmail password and contacted Gmail. (Is there an appropriate contact for this type of issue?)
The chat transcript follows, with the different identities of the real Jeff and the scammer Jeff marked. Both of them chatting with Andy at the same time is a bit confusing.
Scammer!Jeff: good morning
Scammer!Jeff: how was ur night
Andy:: decent. we had a graduation party for maggie
Andy:: (grad school)
Scammer!Jeff: wqhen was that
Andy:: it was yesterday (she didn’t walk, we had the party instead)
Scammer!Jeff: where are you now
Andy:: playing with Oscar
Scammer!Jeff: oh that nice
Scammer!Jeff: can you help me for just a little things right now
Scammer!Jeff: you will help me send 500$ to a friend of mine who his son has an accident in Nigeria ..
Scammer!Jeff: and its was so very urgent i dont mind given you back with interest
Scammer!Jeff: not funny
Andy:: what’s not funny
Scammer!Jeff: i thought you are laughning about what i said
Scammer!Jeff: will you go out and help me right now and send money to him ….. by money gramm
Scammer!Jeff: its very urgenmt
Andy:: its a line from your favorite movie. Aliens 5, remember (I was trying to test him here, not very original, but I wanted to be complete obvious, just incase my buddy Jeff was just hungover or something)
Andy:: maybe you don’t remember???
Andy:: how was your friend’s son hurt?
Scammer!Jeff: yes i dont
Scammer!Jeff: on his ways to airport . cause he study at UK
Scammer!Jeff: so he got an accident
Andy:: that’s terrible!
Andy:: how can I help? (Now I realize it truly is an interloper, and not the real Jeff being goofy, so I play along)
Scammer!Jeff: now they need money there to buy ticket so he can be transfer to Uk and he can take a proper care over there than Nigeria … so i need you help me send him 500$
Andy:: actually I have a shitload of band-aids and morphine. I could send that instead
Scammer!Jeff: you send the money through money gramm
Andy:: what about paypal
Andy:: or moneysukdikexpress.com
Andy:: that is the fastest way to send money
Andy:: once I deposit the funds, you can print it out of any color printer
Andy:: and its real mney!
Actual!Jeff: Andy? ya here? (This is where my real buddy Jeff chimes in)
Actual!Jeff: Someone is talkin as if they were me?!!!
Actual!Jeff: this is scary man. Just yesterday someone hacked my PayPal
Actual!Jeff: now someone is talking in Gmail as ME
Andy:: yeah dude
Andy:: I can send you the transcript
Actual!Jeff: Im seeing it
Actual!Jeff: fucked up
Andy:: i had heard of this on Facebook, but not through gmail
Actual!Jeff: yeah like I saw words coming up from ME just now, but Im playing a damn game
Andy:: unless you’re pretending to be Jeff, and you still want my money
Actual!Jeff: no this is the real Jeff
Actual!Jeff: now anyways
Actual!Jeff: what should I do>
Andy:: tell me who is the 44th president of the united states
Actual!Jeff: oh jeez hell if I know. Try another toy related question
Scammer!Jeff: am not at home (This is obviously the hacker again)
Scammer!Jeff: i told you
Scammer!Jeff: DO YOU WANT TO SEND THE MONEY THOUGH PAYPAL ??
Andy:: oooh I love paypal
Scammer!Jeff: okay will is better
Scammer!Jeff: i will ask them if they can accept paypal insted of money gramm
Scammer!Jeff: that is better
Andy:: hooray for paypal
Andy:: hooray for your friend’s son
Andy:: may he get laid soon
Actual!Jeff: dude whoever is preytendingto be me, fuck off
Andy:: so where do I put the money? This is the first time I’ve used paypal
Andy:: do I put it in the disk drive
Scammer!Jeff: i will send you the paypal when i got it from the friend
Scammer!Jeff: so you can send the money through paypal
Jeff knew that his new chat buddy’s poor English and mention of Nigeria were red flags, and talking about things that only his friend would know, and that couldn’t be learned from a cursory scan of his e-mail, was a wise move.
Change your e-mail and chat passwords to something difficult to guess or crack in order to protect yourself from this scam. If anyone’s going to beg your friends for money, it should be you, amirite?
(Photo: Spencer E Holtaway)