The president of the Sidney Business Improvement Area says the cyber–attack the group endured last week, had “horrendous consequences” and targeted the giving nature of local residents.
“The hackers appealed to the generosity of friends, colleagues and family members who stepped forward to help ‘me’ out of a made up emergency situation, asking them to send $200 in Google play cards to a bogus e-mail address bearing my name,” said Susan Simosko.
The cowardly scam preyed on the compassion of recipients, many of whom gave generously, thinking Simosko needed genuine help.
“It makes me incredibly sad that the hackers’ e-mail letter was sufficiently compelling that so many people actually followed the hackers’ instructions and sent the play cards as requested, thinking they were helping me out,” she said.
Simosko says the RCMP have assured her she bears no responsibility for the scam, although she says she feels badly for those who were duped by the impersonation.
Despite the damaging crime, Simosko said it has helped her recognize what a supportive community she lives in.
“This terrible experience has also made me realize how kind and generous people are. They, and some I hardly knew, were willing to extend themselves to me in such a remarkable way without question or doubt. For that level of kindness, I can only express a deep sense or gratitude.”
Const. Meighan de Pass of the RCMP said that anyone or any group worried about cyber or technology crime can contact her for advice, a presentation or information on the subject.
“Sidney RCMP encourage everyone to double check requests for money or assistance even from someone they know. Re-read email addresses, look for small discrepancies in names and always remember that impersonation is a large part of technology crime.”
There is one additional detail Simosko would like to pass on, to prevent others from falling victim.
“Never send money or Google play cards to anyone without first checking with them by phone. Emailing doesn’t work, because as I learned, the crooks had total control of my e-mail accounts and for three days I was without e-mail. All incoming e-mails during those three days were stolen from my account.”
Contact de Pass at the Sidney RCMP detachment 250-656-3931.