Hacker strikes email account at Rape Crisis Center

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Hackers hit the Rape Crisis Center in Savannah.

On Thursday morning, Rape Crisis Center phones were ringing off the hook. People wanted to know if the victim services coordinator, Missi Blakey, was OK. An email went out claiming she was was hurt and stuck in Europe and needed $1,500.

The email reads as follows:


I'm sorry for this urgent email, I'm so distraught  due to the situation of things right now, I'm in Europe in Cyprus, for a short program, unfortunately i had an accident, worse of it was that cash, cellphone and credit cards were missing it's such a crazy and terrific experience for me, i need help paying the hospital and hotel bills and flying back home for further treatment, the authorities are not being 100% helping, but the good thing is that i still have my passports, my return flight leave back home but i still have problem in sorting out the hotel & specialist bills, I will appreciate any amount you can afford.
Can you lend me $1,500 I promise to pay back as soon as i get back home. I will be able to receive the money here easily and safely through Western Union money transfer, get back to me so that I can email you my details to send me the money.

It's a typical scam letter, with bad English and grammar, but a new victim. Blakey wants everyone to know: do not reply.

"Everything is OK. I am not in Cyprus. I do not need $1,500 dollars," she told WTOC.

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, Blakey got a phone call from a Savannah-Chatham Metro Police officer.

"One of the police captains we work with on a daily basis called me to see if I was okay," she said. "I said, 'yeah. I'm pumping gas. Whats the problem?' And he told me about the email."

Someone hacked Blakey's work email at the Rape Crisis Center, and 12 years of contacts, received this letter claiming she was overseas, got in a bad accident and stranded.

"It says first of all, please read, it's urgent," Blakey said.

The letter hit all the red flags of a scam letter, from bad spelling and wrong words to the basic message of the email:

  • "I'm in Europe in Cyprus for a short program."
  • "I need help paying hospital and hotel bills and flying back home."
  • "Can you lend me $1,500."
  • "Western Union money transfer."

It also included her signature stamp at the bottom of the email.

"It's crazy. It sounds like a foreign person wrote this," Blakey said.

Blakey has no idea who did it. "I have no earthly idea," she said.  "Neither do police. It's a crime which may go unsolved. What Blakey does know is she can't access her email anymore."

"I do not have an email account that is under my control," she explained. "They changed my password and all of my information, like my birthdate and made me a lot younger than I am. They changed the country I am from and the security question they ask for, they changed it to one I would never use."

Blakey assures WTOC, no account numbers or confidential client information was accessed.

"Please do not send $1,500 to these people. And don't respond to the email. Delete it," she said. "However if someone wants to send $1,500 dollars, they can make a donation to the Rape Crisis Center."

Blakey has a good sense of humor about the whole thing, but she now has to contact Hotmail and attempt to get access to her account to change passwords.

Police recommend to anyone who received the email, it may be a good idea for you to change your passwords too, just to be on the safe side.

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