Clarita received an email supposedly from a relative of her American ex-husband. An image of the email is pasted below.
The email sounds credible because police in the third world countries are deemed as incompetent and petty crimes are rampant.
What is wrong with this picture?
The list of recipients is hidden. Clarita will not have grounds for any complaint since she will not be able to prove the email was meant for her.
The email does not say how much is needed, which hotel needs to be paid nor does it have an instruction on how the money should be sent.
The choice of the Philippines as vacation location was meant to elicit a guilt feeling that the crime was committed by a fellow Filipino hence another Filipino should want to pay for the damage.
The stolen credit card is another red flag. Credit cards are swiped as soon as you check in. When you check out all they need is your signature. Besides credit cards have a toll free number that one could call to settle the hotel payment even without a card to swipe. All it would take is to properly identify yourself by answering your security questions then speak with a bank manager. Emailing people for money to settle the hotel bill would not be necessary.
An entire family to be all mugged “at the park of the hotel” is not plausible. Hotels in Manila and their perimeter are guarded by armed private security guards and may have priority with police response due to the international repercussion. Tourists in Manila are almost never victimized by petty crimes. There seems to be an unwritten law that criminals would get a tougher treatment if the victim were a foreigner. Even the dumbest criminal knows anything that touches the economy or the country’s image abroad could get him killed as a warning to others. It is the same for most countries where tourism is encouraged.
So what was the purpose of the email? Since there was no instruction about sending money it left Clarita only one move and that would be to reply to the email. Apparently the objective was for her to send communication which would lead her to a bigger fraud, her ex-husband.