This must be the time of year for scams on Facebook and email.  This morning I opened my email and saw the following from a friend:

I hope you read my email on time, I have been robbed and left stranded in Edinburgh, Scotland where I made a short trip to days back.
I lost my bag and all personal effects in it(passport, Credit Cards etc).
The embassy here issued me a temporary ID card and will allow me fly home without a Passport, but I will have to settle my bills myself.
I’ve also made contact with my bank but it will take me days to retrieve my credit cards or access  money in my account from here.
Can you please lend me some money to  pay my bills and book a ticket back home?
Kindly let me know. I will check my email often to read from you


It sounds like a horrible situation, doesn’t it?  And it is your friend, you should help.  This message may come to you via email or Facebook, but it is a scam!  In this case, someone has broken into my friend’s email address and sent the messages.  He hopes to find a few people who will help their friend by sending money to them.  The money, of course, goes to the thief, not to the friend.  Generally the thief has come and gone before anyone knows to start tracking him and he gets away scott free!

This message is tugging on those heart strings.  It is particularly common for messages like this to be sent to seniors, by people posing as their grandchildren!

How do you know it is a hoax?  Generally these thieves have just enough information about the individual to make the request sound like it is coming from a relative or friend.  So, before you send money,  call the person or a close relative of the person (for example, your child when inquiring about a grandchild), and see if he is even in a foreign country.  If that is not possible, ask the person from whom you received the email or Facebook post some question the answer to which is only known by the real person.  In other words, verify the story before you spend the money!

If it is not your friend or relative, then try to contact them to tell them their account has been compromised — he may not even know it!