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This is a discussion on Dont be a victim -Personal data/password within the Kitchen, Laundry, Audio, Video and Mobile Appliances forum, part of the Home Planning Forum category; WHEN she received a desperate e-mail from her friend on the morning of 4Oct, Miss Yap Ching Fern was worried. ...
WHEN she received a desperate e-mail from her friend on the morning of 4Oct, Miss Yap Ching Fern was worried.
In the email, her friend Sally, an Australian, wrote of being stranded in Lagos, Nigeria, after leaving her bag in a taxi.
She asked to borrow $2,500 to pay her hotel bills, and to get a flight home. Sally, in her 40s, declined to speak to us because of the embarassment the incident had caused her.
At first glance, the e-mail, which mentioned Nigeria, caused the self-employed Miss Yap, 33, to think twice.
But she was nearly duped when she saw that the e-mail was from Sally's personal account.
'The writing style was very much like Sally's, and so was the way the e-mail was signed off. Plus, the sum was not huge, and it didn't state specifically the currency needed. If it were US dollars, I would have been more concerned,' Miss Yap said.
'Sally used to be very active in charity work, travelling all over the world for various causes, so it wasn't impossible that she would have travelled to Nigeria for a programme like this.'
Sally now lives in Melbourne after working several years in Singapore in the medical field.
Miss Yap said she tried to call Sally that same morning in Melbourne, but no one answered.
Miss Yap said she was online when the e-mail came in.
'The e-mail claimed that Sally had access to a city library computer for only the next 45 minutes, so I didn't have time to think too much about it.
'I replied, asking which hotel she was staying at and details of where to transfer the money to. I got a reply almost immediately, asking me to transfer the money to an account belonging to 'Eko Hotel and Suites 8'.'
She was about to do just that when another friend, whom she had told about the e-mail, said she had got in touch with Sally in Melbourne.
But her friend, who only wanted to be known as Julie, said: 'It's been a traumatic experience for Sally, because the mail was sent to everyone on her mailing list, including business contacts and people she didn't know well. She's embarrassed about the whole matter.'
Julie said Sally had disclosed her password when she had responded to a phishing e-mail falsely claiming to be from Yahoo, asking her to verify her details or risk having her account closed.
Phishing websites and e-mails use known names, like banks, to lure victims into revealing personal details. Some sites are even designed to be a mirror image of the real site, but their site address can never be identical.
'The scary thing is that the scammers actually went through her e-mails and learnt her style of writing, in order to reproduce one that looked like what she would write,' said Sally.
When Sally could not access her e-mail account, she informed Yahoo about what happened, and it stepped in to return the account to her.
dont't fall for it
Police advise Internet users to:
Use unique passwords with mixture of numbers and alphabets
Change passwords regularly
Ask sources for more information
Be wary of recipients when giving credit card or personal information
IF YOU BECOME A VICTIM
Keep information as evidence
Keep log of online sessions
Save annoying or threatening e-mails
Report the crime to the police
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