Today's e-mail scam: friend asking for money via Western Union

Today, I received the following email from one of the sweetest and nicest workshop students I have ever encountered. The thing is, it was not from her.

Here goes:

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, I'm sorry for this odd request because it might get to you too urgent but it's because of the situation of things right now, I'm stuck in London United Kingdom right now, i came down here on vacation, i was robbed, worse of it was that bags, cash, cards and my cell phone were stolen off me at GUN POINT, so i only have access to my emails, it was such a crazy and brutal experience for me and i was hurt on my right hand, but i'm glad i still have my life.

I need help flying back home, the authorities are not being 100% supportive, i have been to the embassy and the Police here in London, but they're not helping issues at all, but the good thing is that i still have my passport but don't have enough money to sort the bills and get my flight ticket back home, please i need you to loan me some money, i promise to refund it as soon as I'm back home, you can get it to me through western union.

• • •

She followed up that email up with this after I contacted "her":


Thanks for your quick response I really appreciate it, what i need you to do for me is to loan me $1,550 and i will refund it as soon as i get back home, you can get it to me via western union Money transfer, kindly walk up to any nearby store that operates on western union to send the money. Check for a local WU outlet that is close to you and use my below details to complete the transfer.

Receiver's Name: XXXXXXXX (I deleted it for my friend's privacy)
Location: London, United Kingdom.

So i will be waiting for you to get back to me ASAP with the western union transfer details, as soon as you have it done, you will need to get back to me with the western union MTCN number and other transfer details and total amount sent to enable me pick up the money. As soon as i get back home, i will pay everything back including the transfer charges.
• • •

My first reaction was to help her. She is around 76 and this could have happened to her. Easily. She travels a lot. She is not in the greatest shape.

After talking with some friends who know her, we realized that it was identity theft.

So beware of emails from your "friends" asking for money! Also check the address after the name. In this case, it was not my friend's address.

After her name in the From window was this fake email address:

Be careful,