Hacky new year!

The other day, on Christmas Eve, I was sitting on the couch with my laptop on Facebook. Someone messaged me. It was a friend, but not someone I am in touch with regularly. He graduated two years behind me.

This guy: Hi
How are you doing??

Yours truly: what's up (insert friend's name here), how are you?

TG:Am not too good at the moment

Rut-roh. I didn't like where this was going. I kept it breezy.

YT: I'm alright--just chillin' (aside from all of that, does anyone say "just chill in' anymore? I mean besides me? No? Okay.). I'm sorry you're not doing well.

TG: I am currently stuck in London,uk......got mugged at a gun point last night
(so I'm going to write a random friend on Facebook about it instead of filing a police report)

At this point it sounds eerily familiar to a sob story a (real) friend shared about one of her Facebook friends contacted her about (except I think that "friend" was in Scotland).

The rest of the conversation:

YT: Jeez. Awful--sorry. I hope you did not get hurt

TG: All cash,credit card including cell phones were stolen away
i was hurt on my head

YT: I'm so sorry. I hope you can get everything straightened out soon. Take care of yourself. I have to go, but I will keep you in my thoughts.

TG: Glad still have life and passport saved.......i need your help

You see? I tried to break off. When I got the "I need your help" line I knew for sure something was amiss. I emailed my friend with the pasted conversation to say "Hey someone is scamming me" since she is familiar with random peeps (Does anyone still say "peeps?" Just me? Okay.) writing sob stories from the UK.

So once I realized--hello, someone got hacked. Someone is not having an adventure gone awry. Someone is not suffering from a head injury. This guy is probably okay and probably would never Facebook message me. My friend emailed back with: "Well you know, you have to tell him he got hacked, right?"

Well, yes. It's an unwritten rule. Even though I told her, "No ma'am. I don't want to. I don't want have to hear a fake sob story about someone getting assaulted in the UK (you see? My imagination is still picturing a vicious mugging, Euro style). I tried to give myself an out--I don't even have his email address. But then I remembered--I am connected with him on LinkedIn.

So I wrote and told him he got hacked.

And he replied "I reset me (sic) password. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year"

Ohhh. Okay. You're welcome. Do I need to add I pictured you on a dark London street with blood oozing from your ear and I wasted time feeling bad about it for you to be grateful?! Because I did!

Why do people not even say thanks for the heads up? It's almost like you're wrong for even saying anything. I did the same thing when Steve Jobs died and all of that crap about Free iPads was going around "in honor of Steve Jobs." I told someone THAT was fake and the guy just deleted it from his page. No "Thanks." No warning to anyone else. Just delete. Poof. It never happened. Ohhh! You're welcome.

I think people are ashamed to admit they fell for the okey doke (I do it every day). If you call that out publicly (see also: replying to alarmist emails with a link to snopes disproving it), you're the bad guy, not the one pulling the hoax or hacking the account.

Today I saw someone post this. And I thought "No way did she fall for this. How is 100 shares on Facebook giving someone a free heart transplant. That HAS to be fake." I googled (the truth is out there), had my suspicions confirmed and said nothing. Someone else can be the messenger this time.


lauriec said...

I'm always amazed by the number of people who have never heard of Snopes & the like.

And come on, do you REALLY believe that you & 17 of your best friends on FB are going to receive iPads? If so, I have a bridge I'd like to sell.

And a very Hacky New Year to you & yours, G!

-GRC said...

Ha ha--I have my gullible moments too, but it floors me that some people do not pause to think how something that sounds too good to be true (and too easy) does not at least warrant a quick Google search.

As for the new year, I am hoping it's not so hacky, actually. :P Thanks!