Charlotte City Council member victim of AOL email spoof - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte City Council member victim of AOL email spoof

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

If friends on Charlotte City Council member Claire Fallon's personal email contact list didn't do their due diligence, each might have lost $1,950 in an attempt to help Fallon get out of the Ukraine - even though she wasn't there.

Early Wednesday morning, some of Fallon's friends received an email with Fallon's personal email address.

It said "I Hope you get this on time, My family and I made a trip to (Kharkiv,Ukraine) and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and personal effects therein. The embassy has just issued me a temporary passport but I have to pay for a ticket and settle my hotel bills with the Manager."

The email went on to say "I have made contact with my bank but it would take me 3-5 working days to access funds in my account, the bad news is my flight will be leaving very soon but I am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let me leave until I settle the bills, I need your help/LOAN financially I need you to loan me $1,950 USD and I promise to make the refund once I get back home hopefully tomorrow, you are my last resort and hope, Please let me know if I can count on you and I need you to keep checking your email because it's the only way I can reach you.

Thanks

Claire."

One of the at-large council member's friends did do some due diligence and called Fallon at 6 o'clock in the morning.

"She said I think you've been hacked" Fallon told WBTV. "And people have been calling me. I'm here. I'm fine. Don't send money to anybody that ask."

Council member Fallon said she contacted an internet technician who confirmed someone messed with Fallon's AOL email.

"I put on face book that I've been hacked. Do not send money to anybody that ask for you in an email" Fallon added.

According to AOL, Fallon is one of 2% account holders whose emails were spoofed.

AOL said the company is still investigating the "security incident" that began last month.

The company said "AOL's investigation began immediately following a significant increase in the amount of spam appearing as "spoofed emails" from AOL Mail addresses. Spoofing is a tactic used by spammers to make it appear that the message is from an email user known to the recipient in order to trick the recipient into opening it. These emails do not originate from the sender's email or email service provider - the addresses are just edited to make them appear that way."

According to AOL, there's "no indication that the encryption on the passwords or the answers to security questions was broken. In addition, at this point in the investigation, there is no indication that this incident resulted in disclosure of users' financial information, including debit and credit cards, which is also fully encrypted."

"Pain in the neck. I had to go in and change all my passwords on everything" said Fallon. "Hey they're into our national security things. Right. Doesn't it scare you? The only thing I did was I changed all my passwords."

In addition to changing passwords, AOL told customers:

  • "If you receive a suspicious email, do not respond or click on any links or attachments in the email.
  • When in doubt about the authenticity of an email you have received, contact the sender to confirm that he or she actually sent it.
  • Never provide personal or financial information in an email to someone you do not know. AOL will never ask you for your password or any other sensitive personal information over email.
  • If you believe you are a victim of spoofing, consider letting your friends know that your emails may have been spoofed and to avoid clicking the links in suspicious emails."

Fallon said "now I have no sent mail left. I have no email really coming in. Whatever comes in foes to spam."

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