I’m stranded abroad and need your help!


Philip Mudd in 2007. (Susan Walsh/AP)

A number of people apparently got an e-mail from him Wednesday morning with the subject: ”Need your help! (Phil Mudd)”

“Hope you get this on time,” Mudd began. “I made a trip to Manila (Philippines) and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and personal effects therein.”

Oh, no! “The embassy has just issued me a temporary passport,” he said, so there’s some good news, “but I have to pay for a ticket and settle my hotel bills with the Manager.”

“I have made contact with my bank,” he said, “but it would take me 3-5 working days to access funds in my account” — wouldn’t you know it? — “but the bad news is my flight will be leaving in less than 8-hrs from now but I am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let me leave until I settle the bills.”

This sounds really serious. “ I need your help/LOAN financially and I promise to make the refund once I get back home,” he wrote, “you are my last resort and hope, Please let me know if I can count on you and I need you to keep checking your email because it’s the only way I can reach you.Thanks!”

Mudd, a former high-ranking CIA counterrorism official and former deputy director of the FBI’s national security branch, is waiting for your response.

Don’t do it. This scam is a variant of the famed Ni­ger­ian “my late uncle left me $10 million but I need to raise money to claim the inheritance.” This is an oft-used tale of woe about traveling abroad, getting stuck without passport or money and such. (More credible if they claim being stranded on a crippled cruise ship?)

His e-mail account must have been hacked. Seems it can happen to anyone.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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