Unlike many emails actually written by me, there is a bogus one circulating around for which I need personal assistance.

It resembles our email address but is not. There are several terms for this false representation with one being “spoofing.”  I deeply regret this email going to my relatives and friends, even some businesses, and we have spent hours trying to correct the situation.

When opened, the following message appeared: “How are you doing today? How is your family? Please i need a simple assistance from you..”

For those who responded, a longer message:

“Thank you for your reply (with your name), I sincerely apologies for an inconvenience this will cost you I need you to help me purchase an iTunes gift card for my Niece . Its her birthday but I can't do this now because I'm currently traveling. I will really appreciate if you can help me get it from any store around you? I Promise to pay back as soon as I am back. Kindly let me know if you can help me handle this.

I await your reply.

Kind Regards,

David"

Fortunately, my contacts quickly determined the email was fraudulent due to the structure, mistakes, and content. It is quite unfortunate that we live in a world that there are those who wish to try to take advantage of others in any manner they can.

According to a recent American Association of Retired Persons publication, people 60 and older reported more than 256,000 fraud cases in 2018 while losing around $400 million. I suspect there were many cases which victims chose to stay quiet.

It reminds me of how my elderly mother was emotionally upset when I timely walked into her home finding her talking on the phone to someone suggesting her grandson was in serious trouble, and that she needed to be of assistance immediately.

I have decided to include the article posted some time ago related to my mom's experience:

I arrived at my parents' home to take my mother to a doctor's appointment. When entering the house, I observed her talking on the phone and could tell she was distraught. In listening for a few minutes and taking a look at her detailed notes, I immediately felt she was in a conversation with a scammer.

Suggesting it was a scam, I encouraged her to just hang up. But, she whispered several times that Jason, her grandson, was in trouble. Eventually, she could not take the stress of the call any longer and reluctantly relinquished the phone to me. My conversation lasted about 5 seconds.

The man stated, “Well, I will probably need to retell the story.”

I then asked, “Sir, what is your phone number?”

He abruptly hung up! I'm sure he had already heard me telling Mom it was a scam. We then called Jason who lives miles away to find out that he was doing just fine!

Afterward, I got the total story and asked my mom permission to write one more sad account about one human trying to take advantage of another human. She agreed hoping it might help someone else!

She supposedly had talked with "Jason." He claimed he was driving home some friends after a party and they were involved in an accident. "Jason's" nose had supposedly been hurt; thus, he mentioned that his voice would not sound right. He was in jail because his friends had drugs in their possession. Due to it being such a sensitive matter, he did not want her to inform other family members. He knew he could trust his grandma! Then, "Jason" said he was turning the phone over to his supposed public defender who would give her instructions on how to get him out of jail quickly.

Before continuing, I must try to convey how much Jason means to my mom. It is the grandson she has written a letter to every week for 18 years. She did the same for our daughter when she was far away. In actuality, my mom's ministry is to send out 30 cards each month, if not more, to family and friends. As soon as she heard Jason say his name and that he was hurt and in legal trouble, even in a jail, she really could not think rationally. Her mind kept on thinking that her precious grandson needed her help. She would do anything to get him out of that jail!

After waiting a few long minutes for the "public defender" to take the phone, he instructed Mom to purchase five retail cards worth $400 each. He would ask for numbers from them in a few hours when calling back. When requesting his phone number, he stressed it could not be given for security reasons. Mom was then given an exact time to expect his call. He would need the information then, or Jason would remain in jail!

(In retrospect, I am glad Mom does not have a credit card.)

After the "public defender" hung up and we both talked to the real Jason, I tried to help Mom through her agony while explaining scammers take millions of dollars from people every year in the United States. I reported the scam to the police department dispatcher who of course had heard the story over and over again and was limited in action other than informing the public to beware of such scams.

Once at Mom's appointment, her blood pressure was unusually high. We explained to the nurse why. She then shared a scamming story related to her friend's parents. A scam had taken them for much money which resulted in them losing a lot. The doctor also shared stories. It is my sincere hope scammers eventually find their way and get acting jobs that will help and not hurt others!