Friday, 29 May 2009


My husband perhaps wanted to pass the "scare" he had last Monday. With his most serious face, he told me that Pa (my father in law) is in Nigeria. He was robbed including his passport and needs help.

Tired and hungry from work, I was startled for a second but I saw "this look" I knew when my husband is not telling the truth or is playing tricks on me. Then he related what really happened. Pa's e-mail was hacked and the culprit is sending a scam letter asking money from all Pa's contacts.

It was kind of Ate Lea, a forumer of Baguio City Online, who wrote us to bring the letter to my father in laws attention. I replied that its a FRAUD and asked her a favor to extend the correction to his friends, groups and sites she's affiliated to.

Here's Lolo Mondax'(how Lukie knew and calls his grandpa) article about this recent inconvenience.

Dacawi: Identity theft (My e-mail was hacked)!

I'M IN Baguio, a mountain city here in the Cordillera, Philippines.
Baguio is where I was born, raised, went to school, and work as a provincial newsman.
I've never been to Nigeria. I did not and never e-mailed anybody to ask for a loan of $1,400.
A hacker e-mailed for me, apparently without my knowledge and consent.

He, she, or a syndicate of spam and scam artists wrote those in my mail list - friends, co-workers and people I've corresponded through the Internet. He, she, they opened their poison letter, entitled "An emergency please," thus:

"Am in great sorrow writing you this note, Just wanted to inform you about something very important, I could bearly think straight at this point, I hope you come to my aid because something very terrible is happening to me now, I need a favor from you now, I had a trip here in Nigeria (sic)."

My grammar is sometimes fractured, but I know the difference between a comma (,) and a period (.). And when to use these symbols of pause. I can spell "barely" and, despite the emergence of new words, will think twice before using "bearly." It doesn't exist in my vocabulary and office dictionary.

The hacker(s) went on to say that "all my money got stolen on my way to the hotel where I lodged along with my bag were my passport was And since then I have been without any money I am even owing the hotel here."

What was stolen - by the hacker(s) - was my e-mail password. They used it to access my directory then sent the embarrassing advisory "to lend me about 1400DOLLAS so I can make arrangements and return back I am full of panic now (sic)...".

Pilar Manno-Marzan, my younger sister in California's Bay Area, called while I was aboard a jeepney for home from work late Monday afternoon. She told me of the spurious note she received. Soon, my son Johann also called just after he downloaded the same.

Soon, I was in the neighborhood Internet shop, only to find I couldn't open my e-mail. I'm not computer or Internet literate to do something about this block.

So I texted fellow newsman March Fianza, asking him to immediately e-mail and warn our mutual friends against falling for the hackers' note.

March did, and told me he was once a victim of the scam note with the same content.

Officemates Julie Fianza and Aileen Refuerzo printed out a copy of the "letter" from their own e-boxes yesterday morning. The only factual part of the note was the end of the last sentence: "I will be waiting to hear from you since I can't access the internet always (without any period)"

When Pilar called her husband Conrad in the wee hours, he readily told her the plea was all scam and spam and said he was going back to sleep.

Embarrassed as I am, I hope he and other friends and acquaintances out there can help me warn others of the hacker's handiwork.

Not knowing who received the scheming beggar's note, it would be awkward for me to e-mail all the people I've corresponded with in line with environmental and professional work. Perhaps Joel Aliping, Art Bulayo, Nick and Bob Aliping, Jorge Pawid, Julian Chees, and others can forward this hastily composed piece should they read it.

I have asked Sunstar Baguio Daily editor Sam Bautista and Jerry Mayona of to use it ahead of my Sunday column. Still, I can't reach out to all, given the sneaky suspicion that some columns are read only by those who write them and one or two friends.

The hacker(s) must have accessed my password through my reply to a recurrent e-mail advisory for me to update my info, lest my account would be erased. I had the stupidity of finally answering.

Now, here I am, trying to explain.

I've never been to Nigeria, for the travel costs would be hazardous to my wallet. The African country reminds me of a Nigerian I met on a train years back in Europe. Quite friendly, the fellow traveler showed me pictures of his village and his car.

I apologized for knowing nothing substantial about his country, except having come across a copy of "Things Fall Apart," the critically acclaimed novel of respected Nigerian author Chinua Achebe.

Now I'm "No longer At Ease" (to borrow the title of another Achebe book). My jitters are temporary. I know people can easily see through the sting attempt.

I apologize to whoever received the hacker's note in my name. And to whoever sends genuine mail to the hacked mailbox I now can't access.

"Don't worry; we who received that spam know it for what it is," my friend Edmund Bugnosen said when he dropped by yesterday.

I'll open a new e-mail address soon, even as I try to figure out how I can renew my contacts.



hubby had that nigerian scam sometime a couple of years ago. in his case, several emails were sent to people with same surname as ours, one landed to my brother-in-law. a guy claiming to be a good friend,telling(hubby's name)- a nigerian left a big amount of money but no Will so he's trying to locate possible relatives...he's asking visa numbers or debit numbers so he could distribute it easier etc.etc.
Sounds too good to be true but yeah lots of wrong spellings and a wrong grammar too.
kuna garud ni lakay, uray nangisitak haanak nga nigerian hehe.
we'll regards to your hubby and sisters!


Ciao Insan,

Lol... may talent si lakay, great sense of humor!

Yeah, I remember the bulletin you posted. Can't really understand these hackers, feeding their mouths with stolen money. Sorry to say.


If it's coming from Nigeria or that part of the continent, it's definitely a SCAM.

But with hitech electronic these days, fraud from almost anything in your computer is fair game. Suspicious email address/names are to me trashed immediately or deleted.

Hope everything's well to Apo Ramon. He should have forwarded that Email to Domogan or the Baguio Mayor, let them deal with it, hehe....


Ciao TruBLue,

No comment on the people you mentioned hehehe...

Boog's Pa can't acces his account. He has a new email addy now.

As I've told someone who wrote us on this, he was naive in answering those "verification something"(Spam Letters)... I think this is something common to people with good hearts, not that they're easily fooled but they still believe in the goodness of mankind...

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