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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Northeast California
Be Wary When "Friends" Email for Money
June 24, 2011

Surprised to hear your friend recently took a trip out of country and is begging for money to return home?

The Better Business Bureau serving Northeast California is warning consumers to be wary when receiving distressed emails from friends.

A staff member received three emails this morning from three contacts. The emails claimed the friends had traveled out of country, been robbed and needed money to return to the U.S. One message said:

From: Friends Name Removed

To: BBB Staff Member

Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 4:29 AM

Subject: Hi

Hope you get this on time, I made a quick trip early this week to Aberdeen, UK and my bag got stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it. The embassy is willing to help by letting me fly without my passport, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can't have access to funds without my credit card, I've made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in. I really need to be on the next available flight. I can forward you details on how you can get the funds to me. You can reach me via email or Blue Island hotel's desk phone, the numbers are, (number removed) or (number removed). I await your response, Thanks. Name Removed

Our staff member immediately called the friends associated with the email accounts. After the friends had verified they did not send the email, our staff member asked them to contact their email providers immediately. The providers were able to block the scammer’s access to the accounts and prevent any further emails from being sent.

The BBB offers the following advice when receiving emails from friends asking for money:

· Never wire money unless you trust the person you are wiring to and are able to verify this actual person will be receiving the money. Insist on speaking to the friend over the telephone, ask personal questions and verify this person is who they claim to be.

· Make sure to have your friend immediately contact his or her email provider. Each email sent from the account is a step closer to victory for the scammer sending the message. All it takes is one person falling for the scam and they’ve made over a grand for one day’s work.

· Call BBB serving Northeast California at 916-443-6843 if you’re ever unsure of an email’s validity.