Last Friday, I received a forwarded email that says my kababayan, Manong Nicon Fameronag needs help. According to his email, he is in dire need of $650 because he is stranded in Nigeria as he have lost his money, passport and other valuable things on the taxi on the way to the Hotel. He is in Nigeria for a program called “Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education.
The email says, he promised to pay back as soon as he returns. He wanted to have the money sent thru Western Union.
I had second thoughts on believing the email at first. But looking at the email headers, the email signature, it looks like it’s really him. But the way the email was written, something tells me, may iba… I don’t know, basta! When Manong Nicon writes kasi, there’s always a touch of humor, which I didn’t see in that email. But given his situation, maybe he can not even joke about his predicament. But, what if somebody is just using his email? There was not even a single tagalog or asi – our dialect – word in his email, para lang maprove na sya talaga yun.
I receive a lot of spam emails originating from Nigeria, Africa, etc. But how could that be? In his own, personal email? Was it a joke? Was he just testing us? But thinking that it might be true, I sent the email right away to my sister, knowing for sure that she can help.
On his next email, sent through a yahoo group, he said that those who want to help him can send money to the hotel manager; because that is the only way he could get it.
Name: James Osagie
Address: Eko Hotel and suit, room 8, Victoria island,
Zip Code: 23401
Then came another email from my other kababayan who said the email was hoax. He learned that Manong Nicon is here in the Philippines.
I was shocked and realized, my first notion was right. I immediately asked my younger sister to text our sister right away and inform her Manong Nicon’s email was hacked, and he’s not the one who sent all the emails. I was afraid she might have answered the email and became a victim in the process. Luckily, she said she was about to call me to ask where she can send the money. Buti na lang, nalaman din namin kaagad.
On Manong Nicon’s official statement sent to the yahoogroup, and in his bunsuran caravan blog he said that his friend Ellen Tordesillas, who writes opinion pieces in Malaya, called to ask if he’s in Nigeria, he said no and that he’s in Manila. She told him about the ‘email he allegedly sent’. Then a lot of his friends were calling him asking where he was. One of his friends was already in WU to send him $700. There he sensed something has gone wrong. When he tried to login to his yahoo email, he could no longer open it. Somebody have stolen his password and used his email to solicit money.
Whoever stole his yahoo account must be smiling from ear to ear now. Who knows baka may nakapag padala na agad ng pera sa kanya bago pa sya mabuking? Obviously that person doesn’t have a conscience. Dapat mag safeguard sya! Sabi nga ni Manong Nicon, “Akala nyo, hindi kayo tatalban ng kulam ng Taga Masursor? Wait until you see it.”
Here are some important steps you should do to avoid someone stealing your account.
Choose hard to guess password. Try using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. If possible change your password regularly.
Don’t share your password with anyone. Some people resort to: sending fake yahoobot email. This email will lure you to send your password saying that yahoo will check if your account is still active. Yahoo, or any other email service won’t ask you of your password, so be wary.
Don’t use “remember me” when logging in unless you’re very sure you are safe to do that. Of course you should not click “remember me” in public computers.