By Brian Ojanpa

bojanpa@mankatofreepress.com

MANKATO- Linda Frost wants to make one thing perfectly clear:

She did not get whacked with a gun and robbed in Spain.

She did, however, become an innocent pawn in a cybercriminal's attempt to
con her friends and acquaintances out of thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, the Mankato resident says, it doesn¹t appear that anyone took
the bait.

"A few jokesters I know have said, 'I want my $2,000 back.' But as far as I
know, no one has sent in money."

The saga of the sinister email began about 10 a.m. Wednesday when the board
chair and co-founder of Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota was in a
meeting and noticed her cellphone going crazy with emails and texts from
friends and kin.

"It seemed like everyone in the world was trying to get ahold of me, but I
thought it was just a small issue."

She soon learned otherwise.

Frost figures she has 600-700 email contacts, and all received the bogus
missive, purportedly sent by her.

 The criminal, through means unknown, had hacked into her email account and
used her personal email format -even the philosophical quote she attaches
to her correspondences- to plea for money in her name.

The email has "Linda" asking people to wire her $2,000 to an address in
Madrid because a robber hit her in the neck with a pistol and stole cash,
credit cards and her cellphone.

As is typical with such foreign scam correspondence, the email contains poor
punctuation and awkward language usage. It ends with, "Let me know when you
are heading to the western union now."

Frost said she and her daughter worked quickly to change her email password
to prevent further mayhem.

She suspects she may have inadvertently clicked on a legitimate-looking
email one day, signed in with her password, and the con artist took it from
there.
         

 

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