A Sophisticated Scam the Widder Curry Almost Fell For

by on August 25, 2021 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

It isn’t often that I fall for a scam, but this one had me 99% on the road to tapping into my Amazon account, so thought I’d share it with you.

I am a member of a Bunco group.  There are 12 women that get together once a month to play the game.  We have a yearly calendar that states the month we will host the game; our name, phone number, address, birth date, email address, etc.  For purposes of anonymity I will only mention a name – Susan – as we do not have a Susan in our group.

Different members of the group have been with this group for years. Many years. As people dropped out, others have been added and I think that I was the last one to join approximately 5 years ago. It is fair to say that we know each other well; are aware of problems, highlights, etc.  So when I received the following note from Susan, I immediately answered.


Are you familiar with Amazon? Do you have an account with them?

I wrote back to her and said that I did, and what could I do for her.

I then got the following answer:

Good to hear from You , I’ve been trying to purchase a $200 Amazon E-Gift Card by Email, but it says they are having issues charging my card. I contacted my bank and they told me it would take a couple of days to get it sorted. I intend to buy it for my Niece whose birthday is today. Let me know if you could handle that so I can send you my Niece Email so the E-code can be sent there.I will refund you back as soon as possible.

(One of the thoughts I had was that Susan was a teacher, and I was surprised at her sentence structure, but then I thought she must be upset and just wanted to get the message to me.)

I sent this message to her:

Do you want an E-Card or a hard card. They can get it here by tomorrow if you go hard card.  I think I may have to put in her name for an ecard. Send me the info for the ecard and I’ll do it for you.  Is your phone off the hook?  Been trying to call you and the line is busy.

And the reply was –

Glad you could help here is my niece email address {Sharonwilliamns12@gmail.com } and I want you to write Happy Birthday Niece in the message space. Let me know once you have made the order.

The next message I got from her was the address for Amazon birthday ecards  – with a repeat of what message I was to put on the card.  Of course it was the legitimate address of Amazon.

Something just didn’t ring true to me so I called Susan again, and this time made contact with her.  And, as I was beginning to suspect, it was a scam.  When I looked at the email address it started out the same as hers, but instead of cox being the address, it was her name and gmail as the address.  She told me that she had someone coming over to her house to get rid of the spam, and, needless to say I did not send her niece a birthday email.  And one more interesting thing – this is what I received this morning:

good morning

I contacted Amazon re: this span, and then I called two people that are on the bunco list.  They had all received the same note from Susan; and I suspect that others on her email lists did also.

The only reason I am sending this out is because it looked so authentic that I wanted to alert others to the finesse used in these spam messages.  I would have done it without question if Susan had said it was legitimate.  Thank goodness I checked, as did the other two I spoke to.  My message – be careful! What looks like legitimacy sometimes is not.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 25, 2021 at 9:57 am

And just in today’s U-T, front page:
Grandparents conned out of hundreds of thousands in scam
Callers claim to be relatives who need cash to avoid jail


Judi Curry August 25, 2021 at 12:59 pm

It’s pretty scary, because it is so authentic sounding.


Laura Dennison August 25, 2021 at 9:06 pm

Oh Judi! I got the same message from an old friend of my (now deceased) mother. It just seemed weird that she would reach out to me, so I called her. Her email had been hacked and she was having a really hard time shutting everything down. It’s a week later and her gmail account is still sending out bogus messages to anyone she’s ever known. What a scam!


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