Email hacks

There’s been a scam going for maybe a year or so now, with people hacking into email accounts and sending distress messages. I received one myself just today. Here it is, with the names removed, so you get an idea what’s what.

Hope you get this on time? Sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip to Uk  for a program, I am presently in Surrey and am having some difficulties here because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were. presently my passport and my things are been held down by the hotel management pending when i make payment.
I need you to help me with a loan of (1,850 pounds= $2,900)  to pay my hotel bills and to get myself back home. I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I will refund the money back to you as soon as i return, let me know if you can be of any help? ASAP.  I don’t have a phone where i can be reached. I am so confused right now.  please let me know immediately

Your help is much appreciated,
Thank you very much,

From XXXXX

The emails are all very much of the same form, though the wording changes. They’ve all been from supposed monastics stranded in England for some reason. Just after I first posted this, I received yet another one, this time from Bhikkhu Bodhi. If you google some of the phrases in the message you’ll find other examples.

Anyway, if you get an email like this from ‘me’ or any other monastic, best to ignore it. You can reply if you like to let them know their account has been hacked. But remember that the hacker will see your email…

In my original post, I said that my email had been hacked. I just found out this was a mistake, sorry for the confusion. But the issue is still real…

3 thoughts on “Email hacks

  1. Or advise them to contact the embassy etc ;)

    Though it is sad to see that this scam seems to target monastics, if I get the context right (not that it isn’t bad enough in the normal sphere of life, but to target renunciates seems kinda strange to me).

    • And here’s Bhikkhu Bodhi’s response:

      Dear Friends,

      Because my Gmail address and address book were hijacked yesterday by an internet hacker, I acquired a new email address… Please note this in your address book. I have managed to gather a few of my contacts’ email addresses here and there, but there are still many that I have not yet recovered. I am trying to recover the address book from Google.

      This email will show you how I got ripped off. It should be seen as a warning for you Gmail users. It seems that they are particularly targeting clients of Gmail. I do not know whether the hackers work as a team, as an individual, or it is just a number of people who independently use the same technique, but this email will show you how he/they operate.

      They sent me an email with the Gmail logo (as above) along with a message to the effect that Google will disable my Gmail account unless I respond to their request for information within seven days. Among the items of information they requested were (probably) my login user name and password. I fell for it like a child falling for an ice-cream cone.

      Today I found that it is very easy to copy images like the Gmail logo off the host website and paste them into one’s own files. All it takes is a simple free graphics tool that can be readily downloaded.

      So, for the good of your souls and the safety of your email account, be forewarned and don’t swallow the bait.

      Below is a spoof on their methodology.

      Dear Friend of Gmail,

      I am writing to you on behalf of Google to undertake a brief survey among my friends and contacts. The purpose is to help Google in its efforts to provide you with the most efficient and easy-to-use email service on the planet.

      Google is aware that many of you are leading busy lives and have hardly enough time to eat and sleep, let alone to answer surveys. They have thus framed the questionnaire in the sparest terms. To answer it should not take more than two or three minutes of your precious time.

      Please kindly give me the following information. I assure you this information will be maintained in the strictest confidence, preserved solely by the kind people at Google and myself. Always remember that we have the best interests of our clients at heart and cherish their trust with the deepest solicitude and respects.

      * Your personal name:
      * Your email provider:
      * Your login user’s name:
      * Your password:
      * Your bank account number:
      * Your credit card number:

      On behalf of Google, I thank you sincerely for your cooperation in this scam–I mean, project–and wish all the best for you and your family.

      With metta (and a demonic smile),
      Bhante

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