Kedington cyber-crime victim says people need to be aware of how easily it can happen

Alison Folwell was duped into paying a plasterer �2,400 for work done on her house by someone who hacked into his email account and sent her a fake request for payment.'Picture Mark Westley ANL-151130-232159009
Alison Folwell was duped into paying a plasterer �2,400 for work done on her house by someone who hacked into his email account and sent her a fake request for payment.'Picture Mark Westley ANL-151130-232159009

A cyber-crime victim wants her experience of being scammed out of £2,400 to act as a warning to others.

Alison Folwell was scammed by someone who hacked into the email account of a plasterer that had carried out work at her home in School Crescent in Kedington, where she lives with her two children, aged four and seven.

She exchanged a few emails before receiving another message that requested the final payment for £2,400 be sent to a different account.

The use of language and style of the email appeared genuine - as a copywriter had it been different Alison would have become suspicious.

However, an email from the real plasterer requesting the payment soon revealed what had happened.

Alison said: “Because I transferred it willingly; it wasn’t my account hacked and we didn’t discover the fraud until three days later, there is nothing my bank can do to get my money back.

“I am well educated, and would consider myself pretty switched on when it comes to internet security.

“But I didn’t suspect a thing. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it’s easy to kick yourself for not spotting anything suspicious.

“But you don’t, at the time, because it was done so perfectly.

“Cyber-crime is commonplace, it’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s often unnoticeable until it’s too late.

“I hope my experience can at least help other people to avoid being scammed as I have been, so here’s my advice.

“Get a paper invoice where possible, handed to you in person, with payment details included

“If you are transferring online, transfer a small amount first, such as £1, to ensure the details are correct.

“Wait until you have verbal confirmation from the person you are transferring to, that they have received the money, before transferring more.

“If payment details change, query them by phone or in person. It’s perfectly normal for people to have more than one bank account, but it’s better to be over-cautious and check.

“Never share or write down your banking or email passwords. Ever. If something is suspicious, report it immediately to Action Fraud, or the police, or the bank, or all three.

“Check your bank account regularly to make sure there is no unusual activity. If there is, call the bank.”