Phishing for a Place to Stay

Thinking back to my college days I remembered a funny event. Although this took place before computers came onto the scene it reminds me of some phishing scams, but with a different twist...

It had been a long day and back at our apartment my roommate Shelly and I were finishing our homework, as the clock approached 2AM. It was a week-night and since it was a very late hour, our city apartment was probably one of the few on the street with the lights shining.

We heard a knock at our door, and at first we were hesitant to respond, but as we glanced through our window we could see a woman standing there. We opened the door and the woman said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but I locked myself out and I don't have a spare key. Do you mind if I come in for a while?" The weather was cold and my roommate Shelly and I agreed as we told the woman, "Okay, for a while." The woman walked in, introduced herself, and sat down on our sofa. We offered her some tea and realized she smelled of alcohol and appeared to be drunk. We placed a call to our landlords pager. The woman sat quietly as we continued to work.

We lived in a studio apartment since it was all that we could afford, so the sofa also served as my bed. The next thing we knew, the woman had fallen asleep on our sofa - my bed! Shelly began to worry about the situation as it was getting very late, we had classes in the morning, and not to mention the fact that the woman was drunk.

Shelly whispered, "What did she say her name was?" I said, I don't quite remember how she pronounced it." Shelly then replied; "Well why don't we look outside our front door, and read the other tenants names?" We lived in an old Victorian house that had been converted into a four-plex, so reading the names outside would be a quick and easy task. I volunteered to go look.

It took only a moment to glance at the nameplates to realize we had been tricked! Now that it was nearly 3AM, and since I was tired and rummy I was unable to resist laughing! I returned laughing as I informed Shelly that the woman's name was nowhere to be seen on the name plates! We both realized she created a clever story to get inside our apartment! I continued to laugh, but Shelly didn't find it to be a humorous event. I told her to stay calm and we came up with a plan.

Several minutes later we woke the woman with a clever story of our own. We told her, "Sorry to wake you, but we called the landlord Hans, and he is on his way now." We walked her back to the door, and continued, "He'll be here shortly to meet you outside, and let you into your apartment. Good-bye!" We quickly then closed the door, and turned off our lights. We never heard from our landlord, and like her clever story, we created a high tale of our own to get her to leave our apartment!

Although it isn't a "phishing scam" per say, it certainly shares some common traits when people send phishing scams in an attempt to access our personal space or data. To this day I still laugh at how naive we had been to let her into our apartment, and that we didn't realize that she was really just phishing for a place to sleep!

© May 2006 Author: Tammara Nelson
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