If a friend or relative is caught in a disastrous situation, it is but natural for one to get panicky and go all the way to help him or her out. This ‘fear psychosis' comes in handy for Internet hackers to rake in the moolah! At least two incidents of such “panic e-mails” have been reported in Tirupati during the last fortnight, making the victims rush to the police.
B.Vengamma, Director and Vice-Chancellor of Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS), was among the two people whose email id was believed to have been hacked . A mail from her address was reportedly circulated on Thursday to all her contacts.
With the subject line ‘Urgent Please', the message went like this: “Hope you get this on time. Sorry, I didn't inform you of my trip to Spain. I am presently in Madrid and have misplaced my wallet on the way to the hotel where my belongings were kept. I want you to assist me with a loan of 2600 Euros [$3300] to sort out my hotel bills and get myself back home.....”.
Anybody replying to the e-mail will be given an account number (fake one) with a request to deposit money in the same. “My telephone numbers in the signature beneath the body of the letter in the e-mail were deliberately altered with fake numbers, understandably to prevent my contacts from getting in touch with me directly,” Dr. Vengamma told The Hindu. She said she was planning to lodge a complaint with the Tirupati Urban district police.
In another instance, a similar mail purportedly from S.A. Rahim, a social activist working on solid waste management in Tirupati and Kottayam, was circulated to his contacts some fifteen days back with ‘London' replacing ‘Madrid.'
“I understood that it must be the handiwork of some culprits and immediately alerted all my contacts over phone,” he says.
He appealed to the police department to take serious action on the perpetrators of such ‘white collar crime'.