The future of scamming

Paddy Guest
8 min readJan 30, 2024
Image by lil artsy from Pexels

I recently received an email from a friend, a person in their 80s but an active user of technology.

It was simply this:

[Subject:] Are you there

Hi,

Can I ask a quick favour from you, please?

Thanks
[Person's Name]

I would normally expect them to use my name after “Hi”, but many people don’t, and as I was busy at work I didn’t think anything of that. The address that the email came from was their email address, and when I clicked reply this also went to the same address (the usual first check I make about whether something is a scam or not).

The email was in my junk folder, so I had started to wonder if it was genuine. But they had had a new computer since I last had an email from them, so maybe something was wrong with their settings. However, since the email was going back to their account then I was not opening myself up to any risk, and this person could have genuinely needed my help. I knew they were away from home so could have needed me to do something simple, like put their bins out.

I simply replied:

Hi [Person's name]

Did you send this? It went into my junk folder

I’m in the office today, but happy to help if I can

Paddy

The next reply is when alarm bells started to ring. This was the message:

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Paddy Guest

I am a software developer, business manager, amateur mixologist and cooking enthusiast.