Pleas for help that you receive through social media or emails are a common type of scam.  Recently I received such a plea in an email that I am reproducing below.  The particular email I received purported to be from Elliot Raphaelson.  I do not personally know anyone named Elliot Raphaelson, however, I am aware of an Elliot Raphaleson who is a a financial journalist.  Often such pleas for help will carry the name of someone who you actually know, however, usually this is because that person’s email or Facebook page has been hacked and hijacked so the message appears to come from your real friend, when, in fact, it is coming from a scammer who will be seeking you to wire money to him or her.

Here is a copy of the email that I received:

How are you doing, I originally didn’t want to tell you any of this (and I still haven’t told anybody, so please keep this as a secret) I just want to let you know about my sister’s surgery operation. we traveled for her operation, she has been having this chronic kidney and heart problem since, The doctor has placed her on a temporal treatment now, as we don’t have the deposit fee requested. We traveled with little cash as we didn’t know things would be this way. I don’t know your financial status right now but i will appreciate whatsoever you can lend me with. Please do mail me so that i can update you about position of things.
Thanks and Best Regards.
Elliot Raphaelson”
As I so often tell you, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  You should always be skeptical when you receive such a plea for assistance, particularly when you receive it through an email or social media.  If you have any thought that the communication may be legitimate, you should contact the person by phone to confirm that it is a scam.  Even if you are sure that the communication you receive is a scam, if the communication uses a real friend’s name, you should contact your real friend by phone to let them know that their social media or email account has been hacked.