Recently I received the following email that appeared to come from a friend of mine. I have crossed out the email address and name of my friend from the email:
“I’m sorry for any inconvenience this will cost you. I got bad news this morning that I lost a childhood friend to the deadly COVID-19. I want to support the struggling family with a small donation .So I was going to ask if you could kindly help me send out a donation to them anytime you can today, I’m having issue with my bank I contacted my bank and they told me it would take a couple of days to get it sorted I would refund you when I get it sorted soon. Kindly let me know if that will be possible.
Thanks so much, I want to donate the total of $400. Can you help me get the donation sent directly to their PayPal app account?
Here are the details
Family and Friend
The email came from the email address of a person who is a friend and client of mine, but it was pretty clear to me that my friend had not sent the email. Rather, her email had been hacked and used to send emails to people on her contact list asking for the payment. As I often tell you, you can never be sure who is actually calling you on the phone, sending you a text message or sending you an email. Therefore you should never give personal information, credit card information, gift card information or wire money in response to such a communication unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. Gift cards and wiring money are two of the favorite ways that people are scammed so when you are asked to provide either of those, you should always be skeptical.
But what do you do if your email account is hacked?
Here are the steps you should take if your email account is hacked:
1. Report the hacking to your email provider.
2. Change your security question. I often suggest that people use a nonsensical security question because the information could not be guessed or obtained by research online. For instance, you may want the question to be “What is your favorite color?” with the answer being “seven.”
3. Change your password on your email account. If you use the same password for other accounts, you should change those as well.
4. Contact people on your email list and let them know you have been hacked and not to click on links in emails that may appear to come from you.
5. Scan your computer thoroughly with an up to date anti-virus and anti-malware program. This is important because the hacker may have tried to install a keystroke logging malware program that can steal all of the information from your computer.
5. Review the settings on your email, particularly make sure that your email is not being forwarded somewhere.
6. Get a free copy of your credit report. You can get your free credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com
. Some other sites promise free credit reports, but sign you up for other services that you probably don’t want or need. You should then consider signing up for an identity theft protection service if you have not already done so.
7. If you have not already done so, put a credit freeze on your credit reports at all of the major credit reporting agencies. Here are links to each of them with instructions about how to get a credit freeze:
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”