"It said she was in Nigeria and she had run into some kind of problem getting out and her accounts had been frozen and she needed me to send her $2,500 to help her get out," Tara said.
Melinda Chichester, another friend of Victoria's, got the same email.
"As soon as I got it, I telephoned her and left a message on her cell phone," Melinda said.
Victoria received frantic phone calls from dozens of concerned friends
What appears to have happened is someone forged Victoria's good name and e-mail address by hacking into her account.
The perpetrator stole her password and changed her profile so that any return e-mails from her address would go to a different in-box.
"For a moment, I could feel my blood pressure rising, I could feel the anger coming up; I could feel this invasion of my personal life," Victoria said.
Fortunately, none of Victoria's friends actually sent money to the con-artist.
So take these precautions:
- Close your e-mail's preview pane; otherwise, you end up opening even suspicious emails, making your account more vulnerable to attacks.
- Also, install anti-virus software that scans attachments before they're opened and to get the most from this software, update the signatures. Make sure the e-email component is turned on.
- Make sure the passwords on all your online accounts are hard to guess.
- Change your passwords often.
- And it may be an inconvenience but create different passwords for different accounts.
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