Terrible Trip…. Help Needed


thin tree with cone shaped leaves.

I’m sure you’ll have seen a scam like this before, these e-mails have been going around for some time now, in various forms, but the gist of them is usually the same.



Someone you know (well you are in their contact address book at least), is abroad, they’ve been attacked and had all their money, cards, phones stolen and now they need some money to get home.


They are asking you for help.

scam email disguised as friend for help


The way this works has changed a bit over the years, but the general format now is… 




1.       Scammer hacks into person e-mail account (usually from a weak password)
2.       Scammer sends an email to most people in the personals address book
3.       Anyone that responds the scammer then replies back to from a different email account (usually with 1 letter different in the email address, so you don’t really notice)
4.       Email conversation will continue and ask for a money transfer via Western Union


So what can you do about this?
Well, first it goes without saying if you receive an email like this or asking for anything out of the ordinary, treat it with extreme suspicion, these e-mails prey on good nature and kindness. 



Is there anything you can do to stop your own email account being hacked? 
This scam all hinges on access to your email account in the first place, and that is usually down to a simple password or using the same password across multiple websites?


– Is your password you your pets name

– Or your own name, perhaps with a number on the end?

– Is your email password the same as your Facebook, Ebay and LinkedIn passwords?


You’ll have seen in the news of high profile sites being hacked and peoples account details being stolen, the trouble when you use the same password across several sites is if one gets hacked and your email address and password stolen, the first thing they do is try that password on your email account!



I wrote a guide some time ago on tips for creating secure passwords, let me know if you’d like a copy and I’ll dig it out for you,



It’s also worth noting, that although it does not prevent it, it does make it a bit more difficult for the scammer if you don’t have a ‘public’ email account (like yahoo or Hotmail), it’s a bit more difficult for them to work out how and where to access your email if you are not on a widely known email provider (let me know if you’d like more info on this too)


Top Tip:
Don’t use easy to guess passwords, like the names of your family, pets, or simple words. For logins you use a lot (like your email, facebook etc), use different passwords on each one. 




Remember, as Thomas Jefferson said “The Price of Freedom is eternal vigilance” 




If you are at all unsure please call and get some advice – 01543 241 210