Community Roll Call

Members of the Wauwatosa Police Department's Community Support Division, with backup provided by the folks at, are now blogging. We will be providing you with an ongoing series of crime prevention tips, any current crime trends as well as pertinent news and notes as it relates to your Police Department.

Email Scam

Scam, Internet

Just today I received an email from a very good friend of mine who lives on the east coast; anytime I get an email from him I drop what I am doing and take a look. Well much to my surprise it was an email with the subject of “Emergency” telling me how he was in Madrid and after an unfortunate circumstance he needed $2,000 to help with meals, clothing and travel back home. I double checked the incoming email address and confirmed it was his exact address but knowing him as well as I do, I knew he wasn’t in Madrid. I immediately texted him to tell him to check his email because I thought it had been pirated by someone running a scam in his name. I was not the first to bring this to his attention and in fact his account had been hacked and his internet service provider was working on correcting the problem and restoring his account; although he did offer to accept the $2,000 if I wanted to give it!


The pirating of email accounts is a growing tactic used by scammers and because people you know are having their actual email accounts pirated you may well believe that the “Emergency” related to you via email is for real. So my advice is even if there is a chance the given situation could be real, I would suggest that you follow up with a phone call or any other communication method, other than email, to determine the legitimacy of the circumstances before you offer to render assistance. If it is not true, you will be alerting them to the fact that their email account is being used in an attempt to scam others, and if it is true, you will have verified it as a real problem before deciding if you are able to help or not.


For many, email addresses have become as important, or maybe even more important than a physical address. Having to change it because your account was pirated can create a lot of headaches and expense when considering all your printed materials and the online functions you may use it for. In regards to preventing your account from being pirated I highly recommend changing your password on a regular basis, a minimum of once every three months is what most online security professionals recommend. I myself try to follow what I call the “1st of the month rule” where, on the 1st of every month I change my online passwords.

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