When a scammer hacked a friend of columnist Steve Alexander, he or she probably wasn't expecting to get scammed right back. The Minneapolis Star Tribune writer received a copy of the old “stranded in London” scam email from an acquaintance. The phishing scheme tells the sad tale of a trip to London gone awry in an attempt to get the unassuming victim to wire money via Western Union. Alexander quickly informed his friend he’d been hacked, but then he had some fun.
He replied to the email and arranged to wire the requested funds, then sent “confirmation” of the transfer, complete with a fake Western Union control number. The hacker quickly replied with an email that began, “OMG!” and went on to explain he or she had been “Embarrased” at Western Union when giving the incorrect number. Alexander’s reply: "OMG, I hope you weren't too embarrassed. But never mind. US Treasury Agents are outside. Do not attempt to leave the building."