I found myself in a peculiar situation yesterday. I was contacted via Facebook by a person (let's call him Bob) who claimed that he was one of my mom's cousins and hadn't talked to her in over 40 years. He asked that I try to confirm that we were in fact related, and put him in touch with my mom. Normally, I'd be suspicious about this, but a few things made me consider what he was saying:
- "Bob" knew my mom's maiden name, which she still uses (but is different than my own). The last name he gave is the same as hers, and it's not a common one. It's also not easily available information.
- He knew some things about family history that a non-family member wouldn't know.
- My mom does actually have some cousins she hasn't talked to for over 40 years (and then only briefly), including one with "Bob"'s name. They still live in the country her family's from, though, and they have no easy way of contacting each other.
- He didn't ask for her email or any sort of contact information; he just asked if my mom and I could confirm that we're related.
The point is, it doesn't seem like this is a scam - partly because what he says fits with family history, and partly because we can't see what exactly a scammer could get out of all this.
We want to ask "Bob" for some more familial information or something like it - just to try to see if he's actually the "Bob" we're related to. However, we really don't want to be rude about it. I need to phrase things delicately enough so that he understands that we want to confirm things, without offending him.
Things are also a little complicated because "Bob" is from the United Kingdom, and we're from the United States. The cultures are pretty similar, but there are still differences when it comes to politeness.