Whether I should try and protect a friend or mind my own business??

We all know internet scams are here to stay. I think most of us, on this site anyway, can spot one easily enough. Which brings me to this. A friend of mine friended a man on Facebook. 'Sam' said he was in the army, has an eight year old son that his mother is keeping while he's stationed in Africa, and that he will retire in September. With full benefits of course and a ranch/business he owns in Texas. 'Karen' isn't a stupid woman but she is lonely and bored. She has one grown son and the same job that she started after high school.
When she told me about him she told me that every one had warned her it was a scam. So I just told her to be careful.
Fast forward two weeks. Now his son has been in a tragic accident and Sam needs two thousand dollars to pay the hospital or his son will be discharged. I hate to see her get ripped off but she's not asked for my opinion and I haven't​ offered it.

If any of you were in this position what would you do?? Would you volunteer your opinion or just keep quiet??

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 This is a good start. They may not be able to give any info what so ever due to hippa. This is good for a con. Another form of con is to use a real life event that say needs 500$ to remedy. Ask as many people as one can manage for the money, and make a great profit. The important key is to get verification from outside sources that the potential con does not provide or even hint at. An experienced con will anticipate checking sources such as public records and will work these into their story hoping that conformation bias will kick in. They will also do many things to earn your trust and pass up small opportunities to steal from you so they can make "the big con".  Again when things don't add up and there are conflicts in the story it may indeed be a favorable indication of validity. This is what makes a good con so difficult to ferret out.   There is the old adage if it seems too good to be true it probably is.  


Q: Can I find out if my loved one is a patient at a particular hospital?

: Generally, yes.  Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, if you ask for a loved one by name, a hospital or medical facility can usually tell you if he or she is a patient at its facility.[iii]  

And i have checked on patients many times and never had any push back. 


Thank you for the clarification, Hippa may indeed may have good intent. I have had difficulty getting my own or my children's important medical information as a result.

Usually what Glen says above will suffice. The exception would be someone calling up and just wanting certain medical information while making claims of family relationship. That's because there is no way to verify the claim.

Yes, or a patient can request that their absence or presence not be disclosed. But in general if you call a hospital only wanting to ascertain the absence or presence of a patient it is not an issue. 

You should definitely tell her it is a con. Although, I would hardly call it a con. It is some guy asking for money under false pretense. Additionally, I would directly confront the guy via her FB page.

 I think your approach has much merit. I have a great understanding of the dynamics of a con but would likely attempt to bulldog my way through the situation. Your method allows the one whom questions their situation to simply be honest with themselves. Usually when working with humans this is far more effective than the actual facts which I could provide.

I like this approach, too!

Kathy, Africa has for years been the source of appeals for money such as this. The stories vary and they all promise someone's coming to America for repayment or a romance.

If your friend has money she absolutely will never need, she might send it, MAKING THE CHECK PAYABLE TO THE HOSPITAL.

Thank you.  You the first person to acknowledge that this is a Nigerian Scam.  

Glen has excellent advice here to actually check on the situation, but even if you do call the hospital the responsibility is with with Sam.

$2000 and this man cannot raise the money. It's a SCAM. A tragic accident and the hospital only needs to have $2000 at this time. Maybe that's just to pay for the MRI. Tell your friend that this is a setup. It's one of those setups that many people cannot pass by.

Best to unfriend Sam.

I asked her some of the things you all have mentioned. She's tuned me out completely.
She doesn't have the money to give him but she's so far gone she will take a title loan on her car for it!
When I tried to question her about his exact location she just tuned me out.

We all know it's a scam. She thinks she's met the man of her dreams. Told me she was head over heals in love and that he was 'the real deal'.
I just can't believe people fall for this crap. But atheists are skeptic's by nature.




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