Several days ago I was making fun of spammers for their implausible "Dear Friend: Please send money to my Swiss/Nigerian bank account" messages.
Well, the message below is no more plausible in its literary construction. But someone has instead applied energy and mastery of detail to hacking into my wife's Gmail account. If you get the note below from my wife, it's [obviously] a fake. Apologies to all being deluged by this; thanks for people calling with concern.
I mention this "in public" in lieu of writing everyone I know. More on the Larger Meaning therein after I finish the ongoing blitz of changing every password we have for every possible account and trying to restore my wife's control over her mail.
>>From: Deb Fallows
Date: Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 9:27 PM
To:I know this might come as a suprise to you,but I made a quick trip to Madrid in Spain and was mugged.My bag,valuables,credit cards and passport all gone.The embassy has cooperated by issuing a temporary passport.I need funds to settle outstanding hotel bills,ticket and other expenses.To be honest,i don't have money with me at the moment. I've made contact with my bank but the best they could do was to send me a new card in the mail which will take 2-4 working days to arrive here from DC. I need you to lend me some Money to sort my self out of this predicament, i will pay back once i get this over with because i need to make a last minute flight.Western Union or MoneyGram is the fastest option to wire funds to me. Let me know if you need my details(Full names/location) to effect a transfer. You can reach me via hotel's desk phone and the number is, +34 981 600916867.Thanks.
Meanwhile, if you would like to assist me in recovering $55 million in gold bullion from the Central Bank of Gabon, please wire me your account numbers immediately.
UPDATE: You can have some fun if you write back to the [phony] email address the phisher has inserted into the "Reply To" box: DebbFallows@gmail.com A live person is at that account now, giving details of the tragic mugging in Madrid and the desperate need to have money wired there immediately.
UPDATE ^2: That phony account, above, now generates "Account has been disabled" messages if you send messages to it. In a tiny way I'm sad -- I was having a great correspondence, under an alias, with "Debb Fallows," in "Madrid" (aka Lagos, Hangzhou, Moscow, or wherever). "Jim is here with me and we need help," was one memorable reply. Alas, the interchange has cruelly been cut off.