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Travel scam


It seems this problem is mostly affecting Yahoo! users, which include BT users who are on the BT/Yahoo! service. One of their mail servers got hacked some months ago and the user email addresses and passwords where stolen. These are now being used by criminals for a number of purposes including that described below. I understood that all those affected by the original hack were advised to change their passwords. My advice would be for all Yahoo! users to change their passwords. If you use Outlook or other mail management program, be sure to backup your outlook file so that you can restore your contacts and email history should you lose them. However, I suspect that the loss of mail archive and contacts data is only happening to those who use the online we based email service.

A well known scam seems to have taken hold of Bollington internet users in the past week (end May, early June 2013). I have received about ten emails perportedly coming from three Bollington residents all giving me much the same story -

Hope you get this on time, I made a trip to Manila, Philippines,and had my bag stolen from me with my wallet, cellphone and credit cards in it. luckily for me i still have my passport with me, I just have to pay for a ticket and settle Hotel bills. Unfortunately for me, I can't have access to funds without my credit card, I've made contact with my bank but they need more time to come up with a new one. I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get back tomorrow. I really need to be on the next available flight.

I can forward you details on how you can get the funds to me through western union transfer. You can reach me via email, Let me know if you can be of any help.

Thank you.

Best Wishes, [the person's normal signature text]

The message is, of course, complete fiction and you should not under any circumstance respond to it. It is an indication that the 'sender' has had their email service hacked by foreign criminals. They will have stolen the 'sender's' contacts list and are sending out messages similar to the above example to the entire contacts list. The criminals are using this to try and get others to send money. They invariably use Western Union money transfers because they are untraceable and unrecoverable. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THESE MESSAGES; if you do you could be next to be abused. If you get a similar message with a web link in it, do not click on the link - it will most likely cause malware to be downloaded onto your computer which may cause all your email info and contacts to be stolen.

There are always clues in such messages to show that they are not from the 'sender'. Nobody in the UK would call it a cellphone (US name); anyone asking you to use Western Union is probably doubtful. However the clever bit is that they are using the 'sender's' full signature text on the bottom of the email which may convince some that it is genuine - it's not, they just stole it off one of the 'sender's' genuine messages.

Macclesfield Neighbourhood Policing Team 0845 458 6371
Police non-emergency number: 101

The text on this page is not from Cheshire Police; it was prepared by Tim Boddington (retired IT security manager).

Other Homewatch pages of current relevance: Local crimes in the Macclesfield Division including Bollington, Kerridge and Pott Shrigley.

If you haven't looked at the homewatch pages before we recommend looking at the homewatch home page.