A distressed email claiming to be from Prime Timers volunteer Neil Mudde requesting that money be wired to him in London, England is a fabrication.
“I’ve had a few desperate calls from people asking if I’m okay,” says Mudde, who was at home in Toronto when the emails started showing up in his contacts’ inboxes on the afternoon of Mar 26. “My whole [Yahoo contact] list’s got it… it’s so frustrating.”
Mudde says the message doesn’t sound like him, which he hopes will prevent anyone from being taken in.
“It’s not my style,” he says. “Supposing it were I wouldn’t just say, ‘Hello’… I’d use [the recipient’s] name. It’s a little vague too.”
The message, which appears to have been sent from an email address very similar to Mudde’s actual account, claims the sender has been attacked by armed robbers and requests that the receiver send US$1,500 right away care of Western Union.
“I am waiting for your urgent response and I promise not to let you regret doing this,” states the unsigned email.
Although Mudde says he plans to report the situation to the local police, he questions the effectiveness of the scam. “Even if some kind person is going to send the money care of Western Union… [the scammer] would have to prove they were me to get it.”
Mudde says he had a number of email addresses in his Yahoo account related to his work with Prime Timers, a social group for gay and bisexual men over 40.
“The worst part is my contacts from A to T have totally disappeared out of my listings.”