Teslin, Yukon, couple warn others not to fall prey to email scam

Kelly and Sam Johnston are warning their friends and family not to fall victim to a common email scam. And they'd like to reassure people that they most certainly were not robbed at gunpoint in Manila.

Fake email claims Kelly and Sam Johnston were robbed, left stranded and broke in the Philippines

Kelly and Sam Johnston, who were named Mrs. and Mr. Yukon 2016 in February, are warning people not to be taken in by scammers who have hacked the couple's e-mail account. (Sandi Coleman/CBC)

Kelly and Sam Johnston are warning their friends and family not to fall victim to a common e-mail scam.

And they'd like to reassure people that they most certainly were not robbed at gunpoint in Manila.

"I would just like everyone to know that we're not in the Philippines," Kelly said. "We're in Teslin."

The couple's e-mail account appears to have been hacked and is sending out an authentic-looking plea for help, claiming the couple was robbed of their cash, cell-phone and credit cards.

The e-mail claims it will be a few days before the credit card company can issue new cards and asks for a Western Union money transfer to help pay for flights home.

The e-mail even includes personal touches to make it seem genuine. "It's such a traumatic experience for us," the scammers write. "Sam was injured on his arm but we thank GOD we still have our lives and I.D passports."

Sam, for the record, is fine.

An old trick

Kelly says she's changed her e-mail password and been in contact with Yahoo, the e-mail provider, to ensure the account is secure. In the meantime, she's warning anyone who gets such an e-mail from them to delete it.

"I've been on the net 17, 18 years and never had this happen before," she said.

Variations on this scam have been around for more than a decade, according to the myth-busting website Snopes.com.

Pleas range from a son who's supposedly been arrested for drunk driving in Toronto, to a couple who was mugged in London, England. The e-mails generally contain just enough personal information to look legitimate.

The RCMP's Integrated Technological Crime Unit urges anyone who's had their e-mail hacked to contact local police.

With files from Dave Croft

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