Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Email Scam recently experienced by May Ho

Dear friends: Christie and I had a wonderful Baltic Cruise recently. Shortly after we came back to work, a very scarry thing happened. Here's the story....
If you have exchanged emails with me, you would have received an email from me (not really me) two weeks ago asking for help. That email scam was initiated at 3:30 am and by 4:30 am, I received the first phone call from my brother in Hong Kong, alerting me about it. At that time, I still did not realize that it was my email that had been hacked. I thought my brother's email was hacked. By 9 am, we were receiving numerous calls from our friends, that's when Christie realized my email account had been compromised. The scam was quickly shut down and their secret "forward" function was disabled so that any one that replied to my plea would not be intercepted by the scammer.
One of my friends by then had exchanged a few emails with "me" and was given an account at Western Union to bail me out. I was supposedly staying at The Farmers Hotel in Birmingham, England. The scammer even gave her the address and telephone number for contact and urged my friend to send money "quick".
To make a long story short, no one send money to "me". Thank God. But I did get email replies from my travel agent, my nurse, quite a few unsuspecting friends who wants to find out how to send money to me.
I am taking this opportunity to tell and warn my friends how the scam happened. I replied to an very authentically looking email from Rogers/Yahoo, requesting that I authenticate my email account within 24 hours or else the account will be shut down. As an experienced user, I have repeatedly resist the request for the past month by deleting the request, but I was very tired one day and was in a hurry to answer the hundreds of emails in my inbox after a long vacation, I gave them my email address, my PIN and my birthdate.
Never, never give out your PIN to any company requesting it. I still cannot believe that I fell for the scam. I can only blamed it on my super exhaustion (worked 10 hours first day back to work) and jet lag (six hours difference) the day after I returned from my vacation.
I did learn a great lesson from this scarry experience....I have many friends who would come forward to lend me a helping hand if I am in need. To my friends and family, I am forever grateful for your caring support.
My email account is now secured again with the same email address but the account has to start all over again. I lost all my email addresses and past emails. Please send me an email so that I can add you back to my address book. Mok Kwok Yum has already helped me put a lot of BHJS friends back to my address book by sending out a mass email for me, thank you, John.
Beware of scammers, and don't do what I did. I am sorry for any inconvenience this incident may have caused you.
May Ho