Email scam uses Windsor, Ont. woman's account

Somebody used the email account of a storeowner in Windsor, Ont., in a fraudulent attempt to get thousands of dollars from them.

A storeowner from Windsor, Ont., was an unwitting participant in an email scam that solicited thousands of dollars from people in her email address book.

Sally Taylor was safe at home in Windsor, Ont., when somebody hacked into her email account and sent a message to her contacts to say she was in trouble and needed money in London, England. ((Dennis Porter/CBC))
Sally Taylor, who owns Magpie Antiques in Pillette Village, was safe and sound in Windsor on Dec. 11, when an email titled 'In Need of Support' was sent to more than a hundred of her contacts.

"I am currently in the U.K., I had to attend an unexpected program here, I'm present in London and am having some problems," the email stated.

"I was mugged on my way to the hotel coming from the session I was attending and there by loosing [sic] my funds and valuables," it continued, and then asked for a "loan" of $3,470.43 to help pay for the hotel bill and a ticket home.

The emailer asked Taylor's friends to forward the money to a Western Union near the hotel she was purportedly staying at, a Ramada hotel near the London City Airport.

It's "really quite a horrible email," Taylor told CBC News.

Police say anybody who receives an email asking for money, even from a friend, should be wary.

"Verify it," said Windsor Sgt. Gerry Corriveau.

"I'm not saying don't help a friend in trouble out," Corriveau added. "I'm saying verify that they actually need your assistance because once you send money electronically into the cyberworld, it can be picked up anywhere."