The internet scammers have come up with a new internet scam using your email inbox – so watch out!
Matthew Wright, from Channel 5’s ‘The Wright Stuff’ has alerted me to a new email scam that I thought I’d better tell you about.
He received an email, apparently from one of his friends, with a message along the lines of; ‘I’m in a Kenyan jail, please send me some money as soon as you can!’
In this case, as this friend happened to be a journalist, it wasn’t a completely unbelievable situation, and Matthew was concerned. However, as he was busy at the time he didn’t deal with it immediately.
Then, the next day he received a very similar message from another of his contacts. It turns out they were in an African jail too and also needed money wired to them urgently! This time, it was a very unlikely scenario for this particular person to be in and it became clear that it was a scam.
It’s a variation on the Nigerian scam. The fraudsters are able to hack into your email list and send messages posing as you to all those on your contacts list. “The first email I got looked real” said Matthew. “It was only when the second one came that I realised it had to be fake.”
Here are a few steps to take to prevent this happening to you:
- Use a good web browser and a firewall – this should protect you against fraud, and alert you to websites without security certificates, or those which might not be legitimate.
- Check first with your friend if you get an urgent message. Text or phone them or even email them from a separate account asking if their message was genuine.
- For more information about scams – see our Scamwatch article