This is not a scam

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2009-09-13

A few days ago, the following message was posted to a mailing list I'm on (a list that discusses bird identification, as it happens):

How are you doing? I am so sorry I wasn't able to inform you on time
about my trip to England to visit my ill cousin. It was an emergency to
me because I had to be here soon enough. I am presently in London with
my ill cousin so I decided to write to you from here. She was diagnosed
with a critical uterine fibroid. X-ray and scan shows that her condition
is deteriorating because the fibroid has done a lot of damages to her
abdominal area, and an emergency hysterectomy surgery must be
carried-out to save her life. I am deeply sorry for not writing or
calling you before leaving, the news of her illness arrived to me as an
emergency and that she needs family support to keep her going. I had
little time to prepare or even to inform people about my trip, I hope
you understand my plight and pardon me. I will like you to please assist
me with a soft loan, of $1500 urgently to sort-out my Cousin's bills […]

I'll be pleased to read from you soon regarding my request.....

The sender's Hotmail account had obviously been compromised. Someone named Erik followed up to warn people about the scam and to tell them to be careful. Nothing unusual so far—I've seen such messages many times. But this afternoon, a response was posted to the list:

Hello Erik,

Thanks for the message but this is me 'Cameron' and this is not a hoax,
or a spam okay, I am presently in London with my ill cousin so I decided
to drop a massage just to let you know that am not around and i need
your financial assistance nick please just try and help me with
something i will pay back the money as soon as i get back okay, just
that I traveled with little money and I never expected things to go this
way, I hope you understand my plight please kindly gt back to me asap.

Thanks..

Ha. I wonder if the scammer enjoyed the ongoing discussion about distinguishing between Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers.