How English being my 2nd language saved me from Facebook Scam

Being unsure of English phrases can save you from Facebook Scam

So my friend Facebook Chatted me and told me he is in trouble. He was stuck in London, mugged at gun-point, and needs some help to get back to the States. Since English is not my first language, I wasn’t sure if “mugged at gun-point” means someone literally points his gun at you, or just an idiom referring to a certain situation. After trying to look up this term (rude to ask when your friend is really mugged), I saw the official Facebook page explaining this fraud (Thank your super high PageRank Facebook). So I just want to warn my friends about it.

After knowing it’s fake, I wanted to get more details of what they are doing.

I wanted to paste the conversation but realized Facebook don’t save chat history. Sadness.

Here’s the link to the facebook article

Basically, it has these elements:

1) Friend got mugged in London
2) Needs money to get back to the states
3) Pretty perfect and sociable English. Not the usual dumb “I am the royal accountent of Nigeria”
4) Sense of urgency. “Plane leaving in 2 hours and I need to settle my hotel bill here!”
5) Goes through person’s inbox so knows what you guys have been talking about, “So…how was that investment with Viralogy.com you were talking to me about 6 months ago?”
6) Wants you to send money through Western Union.
7) Smart responses to “How come you don’t ask from your parents? They’re pretty rich dude.” “Is there a phone I can call you with?” “I’ll just pick you up from the airport and you can stay at me. Then you don’t need the money.”
7) Gets mad when you want to confirm their identity, “Dude I already got mugged and you’re asking these stupid questions. I need to leave like right now and I need help…why won’t you believe me??” and then at the same time looks through all Facebook stuff to try to answer you.

Please pass this around so no one falls for this. It also hurts friendship if they succeed. Thanks!

7 thoughts on “How English being my 2nd language saved me from Facebook Scam”

  1. Yu-kai Chou achintngm actually your site crashes or not works many times, so I need to refresh it multiple times now a days. Most of the time it ends in something DNS. followed by search, where these old posts come up..!

  2. achintngm Haha, and you are definitely crawling through all my old content eh? XD almost embarrassed about these videos now, haha

  3. achintngm Haha – that’s not new. It’s super old….I am well-guarded for that. One where your personal needs help is harder to dodge.

  4. There is a new one, lottery scam, where they say , you have won a 1M $, but for getting it transferred you need to give 10,000$…!

  5. Hey Bryan! Thanks for the awesome encouragement!

    Haha, I’m all about combining work and play in everything I do. It’s support from people like you that keeps me going! 😀

  6. Dang man, its funny to hear and get informed about a facebook fraud but sounds quite scary at the same time. Being English my second language (coming from Korea to America when I was 15), I, too, might have gone through the same path as you did if I faced that scam, maybe googling what “mugged” means, haha.

    This is a good heads-up to everyone who’s involved in social media and could be vulnerable to this kind of f*d-up scam.

    Yet, whenever I read your posts, I always get the feeling that your daily stories with a humble style not only make me absorb your posts lightheartedly but also give me lessons.

    Thanks Yu-Kai and look forward to reading your personal/insightful posts.

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