Is this a known scam?

I quote an email exchange in which I have X-ed out all identifying information. The messages should be read in reverse; last one first. The sender is someone I first met when I was in HS, nearly 65 years ago, but have had very infrequent contact with him over the years. However the email address appears valid. The last time we met was a fantastic coincidence and my reply was two-fold. First if he couldn’t help because he was out of town, how could I? Second, please describe the occasion of our last meeting to prove your bona fides. Notice that no money amount was mentioned, nor the name of a doctor nor any other detail, which makes me think I am being “played” like a fish on a hook. Is this kind of scam a “thing”? Incidentally, his letters do not mention my name, which is another point of suspicion as though someone has captured his address list and is sending these things out wholesale.

It looks to me like the usual scam with the twist of being a known contact. I would guess his contact list has been hacked. You could try and contact him (preferably using another method, Facebook?). But I would totally assume scam.

People coming up with a story to get you to send them money is a scam about as old as money. People sending email to get you to send them money is about as old email that wasn’t tightly tied to a job/school. This email is blatantly obviously an attempt to get you to send money via Western Union for the ‘deposit’ that I’m really not sure why you need to ask. The broken English is pretty telling, the lack of real engagement, your name isn’t in it (so he can send the exact text to multiple people), the email address is likely spoofed or hacked.

It does look like a regularly seen scam. The email is written very poorly, and displays a lack of understanding about how the billing system works here. It looks like a variation on the usual, “I’m stuck out of town and need a ticket/gas money/hotel”.

Hari Seldon

This is a known scam. Googling shows theseexact words being used as far back as far back as May. Please block this sender.

So someone you know only casually is asking you to step in on an urgent for his sister. Presumably she’s somewhat close to your age. Does she have a family (kids/grandkids)? If so, why aren’t they paying? [del]Given your OP states you were in HS 65 years ago, you’re well past the eligibility age for Medicare, which means she is probably eligible for it too. Do doctors really make you pay up front if you’re a Medicare patient?[/del] Oh wait, you’re in Canada, right? Don’t you have socialized medicine? Do you normally need to pay upfront for a procedure?

His first sentence looks like he’s asking you to be his courier & make the deposit on his behalf. The last sentence promises to repay you. If you’re just being a courier, your costs are negligible gas & time; would a friend really offer to repay you for that?

Your name isn’t mentioned.

Yeah, I say it’s a scam.

I assume the friend would be asking him to pay a doctor’s bill with his (the op’s) own money so that the sister can have the surgery. Friend would repay him for that. The scam would probably be the standard “ooops, I sent you too much money, please refund it” type deal.
Whether the OP would get the fake check first or the recipient of the OP’s money is in on it as well, I don’t know.
Thing is, if the friend can get money to the OP, surely they can get money wherever else it needs to be. Besides, the “sister” is already having the surgery, so it’s not like she’s writhing in pain waiting for someone to pay the doctor.

Would a not-close acquaintance desperate for help to pay medical bills really start off an email with “Greetings”?

Exactly, do not send any money. It an old scam, for sure!.

This is not your friend. This is not a native English speaker. If you met this guy 65 years ago, his sister about has to be on Medicare. No money required for urgent gall bladder operation. Don’t fall for this.

Thanks all. The next email from him, mentioned the amount of money ($8,000) and states that the way to send it would follow. I did reply, saying that since you ignored my previous message (describe how we last met), I would be ignoring any further messages.

A couple points: although I live in Canada, I grew up in the US. I never heard mention of a sister before, not that that proves anything. It is also unlikely that she would live in the same place he does, which makes the story suspect. And if he is going to give me instructions to wire the money, he could just do it himself. Anyway, I had already concluded it was fishy (and I was to be the fish) and mainly wanted to know if it was a known scam. It appears that is.

WADR, why did you bother replying? The only point in doing that would be if you wanted to fuck with him.

And fucking with scammers can lead to truly epic threads. (Shout out to Mangetout.)


Send me the money instead! I’ll use it to buy beer. True story.

OP, if you are sure the email address the scammer is using is legitimately your old friend’s, you need to warn your friend back-channel that their email account is compromised.

OTOH, if you’ve merely assumed the email address the scammer is using is your old friend’s (because it looks legit, etc.), you may be able to safely block the entire thing, because it’s probably a creation of the scammer and has no valid value.

It’s good you’re wise to this fool, but he may still have something of value to your friend (control of an email account that legitimately belongs to your friend, and possibly–using that email account–access to reset other on-line accounts to take control of those as well. “Forgot password” kind of reset, which is usually verified by an email.)

I’ve heard of people getting hit on by their “grandchildren” as in Mom and Dad will kill me, can you send me bail money/send me money to get back from Mexico/send me money to get a bus ticket home, etc.

Contact your friend by some other means.

A. It is obviously a scam.

B. Have you expanded the header so that you can see where this mail really came from? I’m betting it is not your friend, unless his email account got hacked, in which case you should tell him.

You might also send a copy of the emails to your local police. They won’t be able to do anything directly, but it is helpful if they have a record of the scams going around. If someone asks them, then they can say they’ve seen it and know it is fake.

I would be tempted to play along. Perhaps replying that I’ve sent the money, even without waiting for the way to send it. When they ask, just tell them you wired it to the account you already have on file.

I don’t think it has been emphasized enough in the responses - this is a scam, but your acquaintance likely did not send this.

Likely the “from” address, the one you are responding to, is spoofed to look like one you would recognize. Likely their email contact list all received the same original email, because he received a scam email and unknowingly clicked on a link that copied his contact list. It is a very very common problem. I am constantly receiving emails from a few people I know who have fallen victim to this. The emails I receive have content like “hey, check this out!” or “something you might find interesting” always with a link to click. I simply ignore the emails. DON’T CLICK THE LINKS!

Good point. I sent him a FB message yesterday, to which he has not replied. But I seem to have scared away the scammer as he has not continued his fishing expedition. I am a FB friend of the apparent sender, even though we are only casual friends.