Hackers use local resident's personal email to ask for money.
You're sitting at your desk checking email, when you come across a message from a friend. That friend informs you that they are in London, and desperately need $2,000 wired to them. Sure you're first thought is "scam," but this isn't some Nigerian prince. It comes from your friend's email address and it has their name.
Unfortunately, even despite the best makeup, this is still a scam. And now that scam is circulating in Santa Clarita.
A well known local business owner was first alerted to the fact that scammers were using his email address when he began receiving calls Monday morning.
Somehow, scammers were able to retrieve his email login information and they used his email address to send the following message to everyone in his address book.
How are you doing? Please I need your help I made an Emergency trip to England and am having financial problem. Please can you assist me with Two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) to enable me conclude what I am doing here. I will refund you back as soon as I return home. Send it via western union money transfer or Money Gram with this information.
The email then listed the sender's name and an address in London.
While most scams use big promises to bait their victims, this one actually exploits personal relationships to dupe people in sending money.
How to avoid becoming a victim
Something's just not right
- In this case, one recipient of the fraudulent email immediately recognized that the email has the generic opening; "how are you doing?" A personal email would usually include a more personal greeting, often addressing the recipient by name.
- The English, while spelled correctly, is rough. Accidentally omitting a comma or two in a casual email is to be expected, however from beginning to end this email reads as if the author does not have a command of the English language.
- Would this particular friend actually be asking you for $2,000 with little or no explanation? Usually, if an individual is in need of financial help they will contact family members or those closest to them.
- If you're prepared to mail $2,000 to a friend in need without any explanation, you should know enough about them to confirm that they are really in dire straits. Simply call them. If they pick up the phone, they will be able to confirm or deny the email right away.
Don't forget the basics
- General fraud prevention tips will help keep you safe in almost every situation. Don't provide personal information online unless you know and trust the recipient. And never send private information via email to a company that already has it. For example, if you get an email from your credit card company saying that they need your social security number, never respond. Simply call the telephone number on the back of your credit card and confirm the need for new information with the company.