Right this is perhaps a very obvious posting. As someone who has travelled around the world at different times, to various different places. Including 1st, 2nd and 3rd world countries. Every time I have been away from my home country of the UK I have had travel insurance. I was effectively indoctrinated into that being the first thing or the second thing after vaccinations that you got straight on to. On one level to ensure that you have decent insurance which will cover you in the event of the worst situation becoming a reality and also making sure that the insurer would take the appropriate action and make payments to you as fast a possible, rather than being obstructive. As a result when I have been abroad and things have gone array, I've always had the psychological reserve that I had financial and medical support. So much so that I have never made a claim on my travel insurance as the amounts have never been enough to really make it worthwhile.
So fast forward to lunchtime, this Monday and an email from an old friend who said she had made an unplanned trip to Spain. She had been robbed, lost all her cards, all her cash and her mobile phone, leaving her in Madrid in the desperate situation of having no money and having to beg friends to send her cash via a Western Union money transfer. On one level obviously I felt incredibly sorry for her. But I was also really annoyed that she had just assumed that being a European visiting another part of Europe she didn't need travel insurance.
Then, after I got over my initial irritation at my friends recklessness while travelling abroad, I remembered that this sounded very like a scam I first heard of about a year ago and had disappeared into the abyss that is my grey matter. But gradually my steam-powered memory started to recall the details of a scam where people are sent an email, which is written from someone who you know is or was planning to be abroad at the time when the email arrives, purporting to have been robbed and in desperate need of cash. Looking back at the email I noticed errors in spelling, admittedly at times of stress there's more than a slim chance that most of us would be less concerned about that. But my friend is cracking linguist and even though English is not her mother tongue she is very precise. When I responded to the email I got no response on Googlechat while I could definitely see that she was online and someone was logged into her account.
So please beware, unless you've had contact with the person and you're sure they really have been robbed in Spain and have rather poor spelling. Then don't send any money.