A WEYMOUTH volunteer is warning people to be aware of scammers after his email was hacked.

Ken Francis, volunteer press spokesman for the Weymouth Lifeboat, was a victim of hackers who got into his email account, sent emails to all his contacts asking for help and then stripped his account of all contact addresses.

An email was sent out from Mr Francis’s account asking his contacts if they could do a favour for him.

When anyone replied they received a further email, but this time from a slightly different email address, still in Mr Francis’s name.

The second email said that Mr Francis was in Kharkov in Ukraine on a business trip and was short of cash, as he couldn’t get any money out of ATMs due to a network error.

The email then asked for a ‘quick loan of £2,450’ or anything the recipient could afford, which would be paid back when Mr Francis returned on Sunday.

Mr Francis said he was fearful for his contacts and hoped they wouldn’t reply to the hacked email.

He said he couldn’t even get in touch with his contacts to tell them as the hackers had wiped all of his address book.

“I tried to inform my friends and contacts through Facebook and telephone.

“I want everyone to be aware of scammers and that it’s going on at the moment.

“I’m just annoyed and hope my contacts don’t take up on the scam,” he said. “It’s just very annoying and frustrating.”

Through his RNLI work, Mr Francis said he had a lot of contacts and may well have lost several, as the hackers had wiped the list.

Email provider Yahoo was made aware of the incident and Mr Francis changed his password and reported the scam to Action Fraud – the UK’s centre for reporting fraud and internet crime.

Anyone who has been affected by a scam or internet fraud should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website at actionfraud.police.uk/home

Protect yourself online

ACTION Fraud says there are several actions people can take to keep them safe online.

These include:

  • Using strong, memorable passwords
  • Installing anti-virus software on new devices
  • Checking privacy settings on social media
  • Shopping safely online – always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure