Hubby and I woke up this morning to an email sent by a friend, text below:
“Subject: an emergency:
How you doing? I made a trip to Scotland (United Kingdom) unannounced some days back, Unfortunately we got mugged at gun point last night! All cash, Credit card and phone were stolen, we got messed up in another country, stranded in Scotland, fortunately passport was back in my hotel room. It was a bitter experience and i was hurt on my right hand, but would be fine. I am sending you this message cos i don’t want anyone to panic, I want you to keep it that way for now!Our return flight leaves in a few hours but I’m having troubles sorting out the hotel bills, wondering if you could loan me some money to sort out the hotel bills and also take a cab to the airport about ($2200.00). I have been to the police and embassy here, but they aren’t helping issues, I have limited means of getting out of here, we canceled our cards already and made a police report, I won’t get a new card number till I get back home! So I really need your help. I don’t have a phone where i can be reached. please let me know immediately,would definitely refund it to you once we arrive! Hopefully tomorrow Hope to hear from you soon Thanks for your help love to all
Now we knew that this friend was NOT in Scotland as we had dinner together only two days ago. A short phone call to check his well being and a bit of internet research on my part and it was quickly clear that it was a scam. Here is what happened:
Somebody got hold of his login details to his email account, changed the password and sent the email above out to everybody in his address book.
The scary part was, that this person continued to monitor the incoming emails and answered them in the name of our friend. This made it VERY convincing to some people, that it was really him. Additionally the scammer also had access to all emails saved in the account, giving him/ her ample background information about his / her potential victims.
This hacker attack seems especially aimed at free email accounts like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and the like. Our friend still tries to find out how and by what means the hacker-cum-scammer gained access to his email account. There are basically two ways how that can have happened
a) When using a public / shared computer that was infected with malware / spyware or the like. Or
b) His own computer was infected, meaning that also other sensitive information like online banking etc might be in danger.
We tried to help us much as we could by sending warning emails to mutual friends informing them that he is well, at home and doesn’t need any money and by encouraging him to get his computer checked by a professional.
I am posting this to warn as many people as possible that this ?new? scam is making its way around the internet and to warn as many people as possible. If you want to learn more about scam, and even want to help to fight them, here is a good place to start to fight scam.
Stay safe, and be careful out there on the internet!
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