Couple's warning after email hacked
AN elderly couple who had their email account hacked by con artists have warned others of the risks.
Contacts of Dave Rees, 73, had an email titled 'Bad moment' saying he and his wife had been attacked and robbed on holiday in the Philippines and now needed $2,350 to get home.
Mr Rees and wife Glyn, 71, received numerous phone calls from friends, most of whom realised it was a con, but some just got in touch to check for certain that they were OK.
One person had even started looking into whether they could find the money to help their friends in need.
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Whoever hacked Mr Rees's email account plundered an old signature phrase he used more than four years ago to give the email more credence.
There was even a phone number – that proved false of course – that when you rang just said the number was no longer available.
The retired technician, of Walton Bay, Clevedon, said although what happened was only mildly irritating, people less switched on may be drawn in by such methods and send money to fraudsters they can not afford.
"Clearly they have hacked my account and sent it out but I'd love to know how on earth they managed to do it," Mr Rees said.
"They have even used a signature phrase I used to sign off emails with more than four years ago.
"I contacted my email provider but they said they were not able to do anything about it.
"It has caused a lot of hassle. I had more than 20 phone calls from people telling me about it.
"Most of them realised it was nonsense of course but one person had asked their mother whether they could get the money together to help us out. I couldn't believe it.
"Luckily we are all quite switched on but these emails go out to vulnerable people and the exploitation is quite appalling."
Part of the email read: "My family and I had a holiday visiting Manila in the Philippines.
"Everything was going on fine until last night when we got attacked by some unknown gunmen.
"All our money, phones and credit cards was stolen including some valuable items. It was a terrible experience but the good thing is that they didn't hurt anyone or made away with our passports."
It added: "Right now we're financially strapped due to the unexpected robbery.
"Wondering if you can help us with a quick loan to sort out our bills and get back home.
"All we need is (2,350 USD). I promise to refund you in full as soon as I return."
A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset police said: "Police would urge people to ignore letters such as this.
"There are some simple rules everyone can follow to help protect themselves against fraud:
â If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
â If you didn't enter a lottery you haven't won it
â Be very wary about giving your personal details to strangers and never provide money up front to anyone you do not know.
â Do not stay silent. If you have been targeted by a fraudster and lost money contact Action Fraud at www.action fraud.co.uk or call 0300 123 2040.