It didn’t take long. Already crooks are taking advantage of the devastation brought by typhoon Haiyan with a variation on the “My Awful Trip” email scam. The scammers pretend to be someone you know who was stranded in the Philippines during the typhoon. Check with the person directly and do not send money!
BBB has received the following scam email:
Sorry for any inconvenience, but I’m in a terrible situation right now. I came down here to Manila Philippines for a program before the Typhoon happened which left me with almost nothing! My wallet and other valuables were stolen off last night by unknown thugs, leaving my passport and life safe. My luggage is still in custody of the hotel management pending when I make payment on outstanding bills I owe. I contacted my bank (E-mail) for a wire transfer but it has proven almost Impossible to operate my account from here as they made me understand international transactions take 7 working days to be effective I have also been to the police and embassy here, but they aren’t helping issues, which i can’t wait. I need you to help me with a loan to pay my hotel bills and get my self home. I will reimburse you soon as I get back Home. I will appreciate whatever you can assist me with. Let me know if you can be of help.
All hopes on you.
Avoid falling victim with the following tips from BBB:
Go “off the call.” If a friend or relative contacts you asking for help, stay calm. Then hang up from the call or walk away from the computer and contact the person directly to verify the story.
Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Even if they are claiming to be someone you do know, do not wire any money until you have checked out the story. Don’t give out your credit card number or other personal information, either.
Stay private. Check your privacy settings on all your social media sites. Scammers often make their stories more believable by trolling for information on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites.
BBB offers the following advice if you would like to contribute to relief for Typhoon Haiyan victims: https://watchyourbuck.com/2013/11/11/top-five-mistakes-to-avoid-in-donating-to-typhoon-haiyan-relief/