I had. In it, my relative Klara (whose name I've changed) - or someone purporting to be Klara - said she had been mugged while vacationing in London and needed money wired to pay her hotel bill. Word for word, it was exactly the same email I had received from a business associate months earlier. Neither had been in London. The emails were scams.
My caller asked if he should be concerned. I told him not to be since my wife had already been in touch with Klara and she was fine.
Earlier, I received emails from readers telling me about emails they'd received from people who were trying to get riches out of a particular country, but that they needed money wired to them to help them do so.
But a reader wanted to know if she behaved unethically by initially falling for one of the scams. She just barely fell, mind you, having responded to the ad for nannies, but smartened up before actually sending any cash.
Being gullible is not the same as being unethical. Falling victim to a scam artist might be embarrassing, but it does not reflect a moral failure. Even if the victim's motivation is untold riches (one of the Nigerian email scams promises 20 percent of $23 million for allowing a short-term transfer to the victim's bank account), the victim is only guilty of being a bit too starry eyed at an offer that appears too good to be true.
There is no central source that gathers all scam efforts. But websites such as snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com) are a great place to check on the veracity of such emails making the rounds. These scams tend to be cyclical and ones that were prominent in the past have a
tendency to pop up unexpectedly years later.
Responsibility in Today's Business. Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.