Gen Karamat’s ‘SOS message’ for $3,500 (a hoax mail)
Gen Karamat’s ‘SOS message’ for $3,500
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, June 11: There is an SOS message from the former army chief and Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, Gen (retd) Jehangir Karamat, saying that he is stranded in Nigeria and immediately needs $3,500 to return home.
The message is sent through his personal e-mail — firstname.lastname@example.org — to everyone on his mail list, thanks to a group of electronic thieves operating from Nigeria.
Equipped with sophisticated software, the group breaks open e-mail addresses of both famous and not-so-famous people and sends messages to all those on that person’s mail list.
They send millions of mails everyday. Most people dismiss such mails as trash from con artists but some do get worried about their friend supposedly stranded in Nigeria and do send some money.
Another high-profile victim of the scam was Dr Ishrat Hussain, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, and the most recent victim known to Pakistanis in Washington is US-based journalist Nuzaira Azam.
The message sent out on her name was the same as the one sent on behalf of Gen Karamat. Most of her friends telephoned her home before sending the money and were told that she was very much in Washington and had never visited Nigeria.
Yet one journalist, Akmal Aleemi, responded to the mail. The mailers sent him an address in Nigeria and he sent $3,000 to that address. He soon learned that he was coned but the money was lost forever.
Gen Karamat’s well-wishers can only hope that his friends would check with the general before calling their banks.
Here’s the message the con artists sent on Gen Karamat’s behalf:
“How are you today? I went to Nigeria yesterday for a governmental programme. And I have gotten my self stranded here because my wallet is missing and my ATM card and other valuable things like my ID card is missing along with the wallet.
“I needed to pay for my hotel fee but do not have anything on me right now, please I want you to help and send about $3,500 to help me pay some bills here and get my flight ticket back.
“I will return the money back as soon as I get to back to Lahore, Pakistan, by Friday Morning.
“Please I need to hear from you soon so that I will send you my information you will be sending the money to me through Money Gram.
“Please be rest assured that I will pay back as soon as I arrive Lahore, Pakistan, by Friday morning. And please understand that your help is much needed right now because am very stranded now. Waiting to hear from you. With my best regard's. JK—JEHANGIR KARAMAT.”
As one of Gen Karamat’s friends in Washington pointed out, he is not just a general but also a scholar and does not make the mistakes the sender of this message made while writing it. Also, his friends do not need to be told that Lahore is in Pakistan.