Sorry to bother you

Email scammers do not go on furlough – they have been working right the way through lockdown.

This money-making scam has been around for a while – but it is useful to remind you that scammers will use your insecurities and friends to trick you into parting with your money.

First Contact

Sent: xx February 2021
To: YourName <>
Subject: Sorry to bother you

YOUR-NAME, are you free at the moment?


You reply …

I am in the lab but can take some time out, sure.

Second Contact

YOUR-NAME, I am in a conference meeting right now as I would be working till late midnight but need you to help me get some gift cards.

Could you pick a few Amazon gift cards for me, i tried purchasing online but no luck.

When I’m done with the meeting I will reimburse you.

You reply …

I am sorry, a bit confused here.
I should buy Amazon gift cards? Are those the envelopes with custom amount?
With what amount should I buy?
Sorry, I have never bought one, so don’t know how it is supposed to be.

Third Contact

YOUR-NAME, Thank you very much. You can purchase it at any store around you.

Total amount needed is £400 (£100 denomination) that is 4 cards at £100 each.

I need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin, then take a snap shot of the back showing the pin and have them attach to me. How soon can you get the cards?

Fourth Contact

YOUR-NAME, i haven’t heard back from you. Kindly acknowledge the receipt of this mail to confirm it has been received by you.


If you receive an email (even from a friend or family member) that requests money or personal details, then treat it with suspicion.

Try and contact the friend via another method like SMS or WhatsApp just to double check they are okay.

You can report phishing emails to the University anti-phishing team and / or the UK Government Action Fraud web site.


Posted in: IT