Monday, 29 April 2013

Scam alert, Catholic priests used as bait

A few weeks ago I received an email from a priest I knew slightly.

It was a cry for help; he was stranded in Spain and his wallet and passport had been stolen, could I send him some money pdq?

Because I only knew him a little I hesitated and contacted some friends who might have been higher up his contact list - they had heard nothing.

Suspecting a scam I checked with the priest and he was at home happily tucking into his supper.

No Spain, no stolen wallet or passport.

This morning I received another email from a well known priest friend, an Oratory Father.

He was in Manilla and was asking for some instant cash is 'his' message:-

I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. we had to be in Manila, Philippines for a program. The program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. we misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.
I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a loan of £2,000  from you. this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest. Thanks so much..

Of course, this is a hoax and I do not think that anyone would be fooled by it.
But, it is worrying that priests seem to be the lure to ensnare those who know them.

Caveat is the word.

1 comment:

  1. Caveat indeed. Two friends of mine (both journalists as it happens) each had their emails hacked and the same "Manila" message was sent to their entire lists of contacts, who all concluded pretty quickly that (a) Manila was only one down from North Korea as a likely destination and (b) the spellings and terminology were as far from journalese as Esperanto.
    However, like you, we double-checked with the so-called sources to confirm our suspicions. As you say, a particularly nasty piece of work when priests are used as bait and they might be advised to make some changes to their email IDs and passwords.