Police investigating ‘distressing’ email scam

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Police are investigating an email scam after a Ribble Valley man had his account hacked.

Officers received a report of several members of the same family throughout the country receiving an email from a relative living in the Ribble Valley.

The family were unable at first to make contact with the relative but the police were contacted and eventually the individual was contacted and found to be safe and well.

The relative, on checking his own e-mail account, discovered he had been hacked and all of his contacts had been sent the following message via his email: “I am in a terrible situation with my family. We are stranded here in the Ukraine since last night. We were robbed and our cash, credit cards and phones were taken from us. We need your help with a loan of £2450 to pay hotel bills and a return flight. Please let me know what you can do to help.”

PC Tony Walsh, from the Ribble Valley Neighbourhood Team, said: “When you read the message in the cold light of day, it does read like a scam, but if it is you that receives the message and then you are unable to make contact with your relative, it may make you think or possibly believe there is some truth in the email.

“Please do not fall for this scam. If you do receive a message similar to the one above, do your best to make contact with the relative or friend that the message is supposedly from. If you cannot make contact, try neighbours or other relatives or friends to check on the person and if all else fails, ring the police on 101 and they will help with the situation. Under no circumstances reply or arrange to send any money via a transfer in response to the email.”

For more information on scams including scam emails, ring Action Fraud UK on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud UK website at www.actionfraud.org.uk.