Here's an email scam that could easily catch somebody off guard.

Has this happened to you?

You get an email from an acquaintance - and it might be someone you haven't heard from for a long time. At first, you're thinking, oh it's so nice to hear from this person, but little by little you get the feeling something just isn't right. This is the email I recently received.

Hi
How's your day going? I'm sorry for bothering you with this mail, I know this is kind of random for me to ask you. I need a favor from you.
I need to get a (iTunes Gift Card) for my Niece, it's her birthday but I can't do this now because I'm currently traveling and I tried purchasing it online but unfortunately, I have no luck with that.
Can you do me a favor of getting the Gift card at any store around you? You can get it at any grocery or drug stores around like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kroger. I promise to reimburse you asap!
Kindly let me know if you can handle this for me. I await your soonest response.
Thank you
John Doe
There are three clues in this email that indicate this is not from any friend of mine.
CLUE #1
Don't you think that if this was really from a friend, he would address me by name instead of  Hi _______?
CLUE #2
In the part where he's telling me where to purchase the gift card, he mentions "Kroger." Some cities have Kroger stores, but not Grand Junction. Nobody I know in Grand Junction refers to the local grocery stores as 'Kroger.' We call it City Market.
CLUE #3
If this really was my friend 'John Doe', he would not have signed it John Doe. His full name is in the email address so there's no reason to provide a first and last name in the closing. I know John. John would not do this.
Here's the rest of the story.
I thought I would have some fun with the hacker and replied to his email with some friendly small talk. My intention was to catch him red-handed by engaging in a conversation about things in our past that were completely fabricated. The hacker would have no way of knowing these things weren't real events in our past. I mentioned that getting the gift card was no problem and I asked how I could get it to him - hoping this would certainly generate a response. On the slight chance the email was legitimate, my friend would know that I was, in fact, willing to do him the favor.
Well, I did get a response. I received notification of a voice message. Aha! The hacker is calling me to set up delivery of the gift card. I've got him, I thought.

As it turned out, the voice message was from the real John Doe, who had received my email reply. This confirmed that the email address used by the hacker was the actual email account of my friend. I had thought maybe it was a fake account. John was a bit perplexed by my message but acknowledged that he had, in fact, been hacked and the fake message had gone out to about 50 of his contacts.

My word of caution to you is this. Whenever you get an email or a text message of this nature and your inclination is to help a friend in need, dig a little deeper and get confirmation that the message is legitimate before you start opening up your wallet - and in the process possibly divulging sensitive personal information.

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