Scammers use London riots for their own gain

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We've told you time and again that today's news becomes tomorrow's scam.  Unfortunately hackers are using the violent riots in London to scam people in this country out of their money.

It usually starts with an email or a Facebook or other social networking post.  Someone on your list of friends or in your email address book says they're stuck in London and want to get home but they can't afford the plane ticket.  Other similar emails indicate somehow that person wound up in jail and doesn't have the bail money to get out.

These emails and messages are scams.

Hackers can break into your accounts pretending to be someone you know. Unfortunately having lots of friends puts you in jeopardy.

"I believe the people most at risk are those with the highest number of people in their address book.  It's the same amount of work to go after you as someone with 50 contacts and you're going to be the bigger payload," said WBTV cyber expert, Theresa Payton.

The best way to keep from becoming a victim in the first place is to use very secure passwords on all of your online accounts.  Combinations of letters and numbers that are tough to guess are your best bet.

If you receive one of these emails be sure to call that friend or family member before randomly sending the money they're asking for.

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