Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Internet scam had silver lining


IT WAS a rude awakening, my Saturday morning lie-in interrupted by dozens of phone calls from thoughtful friends concerned for my welfare. Had I really been mugged in Manila? Did I need money to be rescued from the ghastly fate that had befallen me?

No, I had been hacked. And the Nigerian, who cunningly impersonated Yahoo!7 to gain access to my email account details, stole my contact list and changed my email address so that all funds could be forwarded directly to him, was waiting hopefully.

He had been busy (it couldn’t be a she, could it?) since the early hours of the morning. Working quickly, we discovered he had contacted everyone in my address book with the same unconvincing sob story. Thankfully, my spouse is less technologically challenged than I am and was able to change my password and get me back in business. However, sending out apologies to all who had been bothered by this entrepreneur’s imaginative scam was hard without my online address book. Perhaps Yahoo! could assist?
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And I thought the hacker was my problem. Try as we might, Yahoo was uncontactable, either online or by phone.

Most of the day was spent phoning the constantly engaged customer-care number, printed in red in the phone book.

Perhaps I was not alone. Had others suffered the same fate and the Yahoo! phone line was running hot? But then surely somewhere online we could leave details of our saga? In its defence, eight hours after the hacking occurred, Yahoo! did send an automatic message telling me my account information had changed, but by then the damage had been done. What I really needed was to speak to a customer-care person able to close down the impersonator and resurrect my contacts.

But strangely enough, while chaos reigned this cloud had a silver lining. In the process of handling the nightmare caused by my Nigerian friend’s ingenuity, the phone calls flooded in. Most people recognised it was a scam but rang anyway, just to check. Commiserations and lengthy conversations ensued with people I hadn’t spoken to in years sufficiently concerned to call, and friendships were reignited.

Some friends made contact with ”me” online, which of course was him, and asked where to deliver the money ”I” needed to extract myself from the Philippines. Fortunately, most people recognised inconsistencies in the hacker’s message, but just who would be responsible if money had been transferred?

We haven’t contacted the police. I suspect they would be even less interested than Yahoo!.


April 26, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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