F.C. Salleh Salam (pic). Click here to access his blog.
I was on my way to KL yesterday (Tuesday, April 22, 2008) sending my daughter to her office in Jalan Raja Chulan when I received a SMS from F.C. Salleh Salam (Frisco), a close friend of mine in Kota Kinabalu. I was talking to myself, it was rather awkward for Frisco to send me a SMS that early in the morning (07:46HRS) that was after glancing at my PDA screen that the SMS came from him. Too early also for SMS jokes unless he is in a different time zone. After reaching my daughter’s office, I stopped for a while to read the message and the SMS read “Askum. I wrote email to you urgent. Have you read? What say you.”
After reaching home in Subang Jaya, I switched on my pc, opened my email and as usual I have lots of emails from friends and associates flagged as unread. I opened the email from my friend Frisco and it read like this:
QUOTE: Samat. I don't really know if this letter is genuinely written by our friend, (friend’s name). I've been receiving emails from him earlier which appear normal. We were supposed to meet up tomorrow for the first time, and he gave me a number to call. Suddenly I have this email which clocked him at 4:39 am, just about an hour from now. It seemed real as the English sounds like him, but I am not too sure firstly, about the method of payment is the way how to send as well. Secondly, I am certain he would be able to call the embassy for help if his problem is real. Thirdly, I am certain he has other friends and relatives upon which he can also seek immediate assistance. Maybe he was too embarrassed but if you are in trouble what is there to feel shy about. Whatever do CALL me when you receive this, although he did not want anyone to disclose to anyone but I feel a few things are not that right and I would like your opinion. Naturally I would like this email be kept secret from him whatever the situation as I trust you. Indeed if he needs help right now, He could be genuinely in Ghana and his email address and password was stolen as these people are capable of. But for mere $800 request is no big deal. I can do something but unfortunately I have an appointment to visit the Padas gorge by which we will be leaving KK by 8. Do call me ASAP.UNQUOTE
The email Frisco received purportedly from our friend is as follows:
Date: Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 4:39 AM Subject: Emergency To:
How are you doing today? I am sorry I didn't inform you about my travelling 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 had been a very sad and bad moment for me here; the present condition that I found myself is very difficult for me to explain.
I am really stranded in Nigeria at this moment because I forgot my little bag in a Taxi where my money, passport, documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel I am staying, I am facing a hard time and lots difficulties here because I have no money on me. I now owe a hotel bill of $850.85 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to get me embarrassed up and detained by the hotel management. Please I need urgent help from you, I only need you to help me with the hotel bill and I will also need $800 to feed and help myself back home. I had been to the State Embassy and they were so kind to assist me with some money and I paid part of the hotel bill.
Please can you help me with a sum of $1,500 to sort out my problems here and get back home, I don't even have money to feed myself for a day, which I had to starve for many days if I continue staying here. Kindly help me transfer some money as soon as you got my e-mail either through the Western Union or Money Gram to re-arrange from my misfortune here and help myself get back home soon.
Try to understand how bitterer I feel this moment I'm writing you. I needed this help so much and on time to get out of this mess because I am in a terrible and tight corner right now. Also thank the hotel manager "Mr. John Ken" he had so much helped me here, he assisted talked to the hotel management behalf before they extended my days of staying even after my misfortune until I get in touch with any of the friends that cares to help me out here. Please don't feel so much bothered in case you called and couldn't hear from me because many a times the hotel management does not allow emergency calls here due to languages involved and other security reasons, I am alright presently all I needed right now is your financial aid to sort things out here and get back home safely.
I am sending you this e-mail from the city local Library and I only have 30 min, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promised to pay back your money as soon as I get back home, I'm forwarding along with my personal details for you to go any Western Union or Money-gram immediately and transfer the money because I need to be safe here and get back home shortly. It very unfortunate i lost all my contact with most Friends that would so much loved helping me back home if they get to know this. I will contact to create your awareness immediately I received the funds. I am so much glad I contacted you in a bad moment like this because of your concern and lovely care.
Please if you really care for me, want me happy and need me safe back home; kindly take my below details to the nearest Western Union or Money Gram and Transfer some money for me to pay the hotel bill and return home. You can get back to me through the e-mail or the hotel manager "MR.JOHN KEN" regarding the MTCN for pick up as soon as you transfer the money.
Please don't disclose my request before friends, just keep everything within yourself until I get back I will explain better. Below are my details you can transfer the money so that i will return home happily. Take this to the Western Union OR Money Gram immediately you got my e-mail.
Thanks allots for your care and concern helping me back home.
Details You Need Now; Full Name: (friend’s name) TEXT QUESTION: Who is the Receiver ANSWER: (friend’s name) Country&Code: Nigeria / 23401 Address:23/25, Maryland Street, MI NIGERIA Hotel Name: Quarter Jack Mild Int'l Lodge & Suits Hotel Line: +234-705-5610-969, +234-806-5261-102
Best Regards (friend’s name)
When I browsed further in my Inbox, I found out one email was marked from our friend in “dilemma”. When I opened the email, it was exactly similar to what Frisco received. The email came with his legitimate email address and his full name. So, Frisco and I traded some SMS just to ascertain that our friend is alright.
Be warned that the above email is a SCAM. Frisco and I did some investigation ourselves where Frisco found out that our friend is “alive and kicking” in Kota Kinabalu and at the same time I found this information. Please click here for explanation that cleared our worries.
How did thing like this happened? For our friend’s case, there is a legitimate explanation as told by him to Frisco. He lost his PDA while in KL. That could be the explanation, particularly when passwords and other critical information are stored inside the PDA. Once lost, many times shy.
So my advices to the readers are (a) Please change you email password regularly and ATM, credit cards passwords as well and all other passwords for that matter. (b) Never store critical information in your PDA or hand phone. Of course it is very handy to have everything in a single gadget but the repercussions are agonising.
If you received similar emails as mentioned above please do not deposit any money to the said account, no matter how in sympathy are you for a friend in need. Please verify accordingly.
Truly Kadayan/Kedayan by birth. Residing in Subang Jaya, Selangor D.E. since 1988 until now.
I was born in the Colony of North Borneo, now called Sabah (Land Below the Wind). It was still the British rule then, and we used to sing "God Save the Queen" at the school assembly in early sixties. On 16 September, 1963, the Colony of North Borneo gained its independence through the formation of Malaysia.
I spent most of my childhood days in a remote village, where basic utilities such as roads, water, electricity and telephones were not known to the village folks.
My childhood days were very challenging, simply because our living condition was just at the lowest level of Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.