Email hijack scam caution

A COMMUNITY worker was amazed when she found her email account had been hijacked by thieves behind a worldwide internet scam.

Niki Duffy was glance her emails when she found her account had been hacked by fraudsters who tried to misuse cash from her contacts.

Her friends and workmates were almost conned into giving away £1,800 to criminals who fake to be Niki and sent an email asking for money.

The fraud was first exposed when Niki typed her password in as usual, but was puzzled to find it had mysteriously changed.

But she realized that she was the victim of an email scam when anxious friends got in touch to say they had received a doubtful email sent from Niki's account.

Hackers had somehow got hold of Niki's security information and sent out emails in her name that maintained she was stranded in Spain and badly needed a £1,500 loan.

The message, which was sent out to all of Niki's preceding email contacts, said she had lost her reward in Madrid and needed money to get home and pay a hotel bill.

Some of Niki's friends almost fell for the scam and contacted her to check she was all right and said that they would be pleased to loan her the money.

Niki, who works as a project manager at Owton Fens Residents' Association, Hartlepool, said: "It has been an complete lurid.

"It was really upsetting because I thought 'what if people think I'm trying to get money out of them?'.

"I felt like my solitude had been invaded by these people, they had opened emails and changed all of my personal information and could have got hold of personal details.

"Some of the girls from the workplace rang me asking if I was all right and asked how they could transfer the money to me.

"I explained that I was fine and that my email was hacked. It was just fortunate none of them replied to the email."

Niki, 28, is anxious that people could be fooled by this type of scam because it appears that the emails are from somebody you know.

She has warned others to be watchful to the threat and be careful about keeping personal details stored on the internet.

Niki, who lives with her partner Phil Butler, in the Fens area, added: "I have heard about other scams where you get an email from someone you don't recognize asking for your bank information or whatever.

"But this one is different because it looks as if you are getting an email from somebody you identify.

"People need to be aware of internet security and be careful about what information they have saved in their emails.

"Hackers could get hold of passwords for shopping accounts, bank information and anything really.

"The internet's not as safe as people think."

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