Ottawa

Ottawa man victim of Facebook, email scam

An Ottawa man is furious after an unknown criminal hijacked his email and Facebook accounts in an attempt to scam his friends and his family.

An Ottawa man is furious after an unknown criminal hijacked his email and Facebook accounts in an attempt to scam his friends and his family.

While Paul Lagasi was on a recent trip to Cuba, friends from a dormant Facebook account were alerted that he was in trouble and needed help.

"I'm writing you with tears in my eyes," began the email, supposedly sent by Lagasi from Wales.

"Unfortunately, we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed … Wondering if you can loan us some cash. We promise to refund it as soon as we get back."

Upon receiving the message, Lagasi's daughter phoned to alert him and let him know friends and family were worried.

Lagasi believes his email account was hacked when he logged in from his smartphone at the Ottawa airport. His Facebook account was deactivated, but because he used the same password for both his Facebook and email, the hackers were still able to tap in to his list of friends.

Lagasi doesn't know how many people, if any, sent the crooks money thinking they were helping him. He still can't access his email account because the hacker has stolen his email identity.

"So what he did is change the password right away [and] now he's conversing with people."

Adding to the frustration is the fact that Lagasi has been unable to get his email account shut down because he can't recall the security challenge question he set up more than a decade ago.

Lagasi has notified most of his friends to tell them about the scam, and says he's learned a valuable lesson.

"My advice to the public is that if ever anyone sends you an email asking for money — it's a scam. Most people are not going to email you asking for money."

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says Facebook scams are very common. They warn users not to share too much private information and to use different passwords for different applications.

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