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An e-mail arrives from someone you know.  They are currently in a foreign country and all of the clothing, credit cards and travel documents have been stolen.  They will repay you but urgently need funds to pay their hotel and meals, more clothing and other travel related expenses.  It is clear this requires immediate action to get funds delivered now.

Rule #1:  Stop and take a deep breath as this may be a scam.
               These attacks always work on your emotions and sense of urgency.
               Do not let these work against you.  Be calm, read carefully, and think.

Think about this message.  What is provided and what is missing?
Often there is no personalization on the e-mail ... no names, no phone numbers.  If you were stranded would you not provide at least your name in the e-mail?  Why not what hotel you were at and maybe a phone number?

What about sending the money?  Why is it going to that place?
Often it is a place where presenting a piece of information that is anonymous allows the person to collect the cash wired.  No signatures, no photographs, no fingerprints or personal identification.

But you can recover your money by calling the police, right?
Which Police Department in what Country are you going to call?  Your local Police department may have sympathy for you on the telephone but they can't do anything as this is a crime in another country.  Do you have anything to help the local authorities find the criminal?  Will the clerk who paid the money remember anything?  Is the clerk part of the criminal activity?  All we know is we cannot prove there was a crime.

Should you become a victim of a crime, contact the nearest US Embassy and report what happened and where you stand in terms of lost cash, credit cards and Passports and in what names.  They cannot "make you whole" but they can assist in getting you new Passports generally sometimes within 2 business days.  They may be able to cancel your credit cards and request international delivery to you while you are still in town.  They can also assist in filing a Police Report.  They know the local laws and local law enforcement which can be a great value at this time.