New email scam claims to know account passwords

Scams happen year round, but they seem to happen more around the holidays. One local woman wants to warn others of a recent scam email she got where scammers threatened to release personal information if they didn't receive money in return.

Posted: Nov 20, 2018 10:53 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2018 11:00 PM

TERRE HAUTE Ind. (WTHI)- People can fall victim to scammers year round, but it seems the holiday season is when it happens the most.

Whether it be by email, phone or through a bank account, someone is always out there trying to scam people.

Jennifer Mullen is a local woman who found herself on the end of a scary e-mail scam.

The threatening e-mail sounded like this: "Hello. I actually know the too dirty secrets of your life. I will not reveal to you exactly what I am aware of, but I have the information along with me. To demonstrate this let me reveal to you that one of your security passwords is ..."

That's when Mullen knew something was wrong.

It was an old email password the scammer knew, but she said she still used it for several other online accounts.

The person behind the email also demanded money.

"I want to make one thing really clear that I will devastate your life completely if I do not get the payment. In the event that I do get the payment, I will erase every detail I have with me and I will disappear for good."

Indiana State Police Trooper Matt Ames said there are things you can do to protect yourself from scams like this.

That includes deleting emails from people you don't know, but if you still become a victim there are steps to take.

"They need to immediately contact their credit cards and have their credit cards frozen. They need to contact their bank and have all their accounts frozen there as well," Ames said.

Mullen said she knew this was a scam, so she contacted the local police department.

She also changed her passwords.

Things could've been worse, but she says ultimately this taught her a lesson.

"Be skeptical of everything. I think a lot of times we can be too trusting, and especially during the holiday season, we're so giving. I think it's easy for people to fall into those traps."

Ames said it's important you keep your software updated and be cautious of using public wi-fi.

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