Exmouth woman warns of email scam

PUBLISHED: 16:18 16 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:14 01 July 2011

Janet from Japonica in Exmouth. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 1747-24-11SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Janet from Japonica in Exmouth. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 1747-24-11SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

A heart-wrenching scam email has conned £1,200 from the family of an Exmouth businesswoman - believing her to have been mugged and stranded in Spain.

Hundreds of email contacts of Janet Caudrelier, who owns Japonica, in The Parade, were targeted by the cheats on Monday with a fake sob-story appealing for cash.

It appeared Janet had sent an email for help, having been robbed of her credit card, mobile phone and money while in Madrid - and not being able to pay her hotel bill.

Concerned for Janet’s welfare, her aunt, in Somerset, not realising the email was a fraud, immediately paid the fraudsters’ request for £1,200 to be deposited into a Western Union bank account.

The aunt realised she had been conned once a return email arrived, thanking her for the cash and immediately demanding more – saying Janet had fainted at the airport, missed her plane and needed to pay for new flights.

Janet, 57, said she had been unable to sleep after hearing her family had been duped.

She said: “They are switched on, intelligent, articulate people. It just shows anybody can fall for it.

“They have preyed on people’s good nature. It’s absolutely evil.

“I have been inundated with phone calls to ask if I am all right.”

Janet had been unaware her email account had been infiltrated until Monday morning, when friends, family and customers - concerned for her welfare - began telephoning.

When she tried to access her account to email a warning to her contact list of friends, family and suppliers that a scam was at large, she found permission was denied - her password had been changed.

The fraud email said: “I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. I and my family came down here to Madrid, Spain, for a short vacation.

“Unfortunately, we got mugged at the park of the hotel where we lodge. All cash, credit card and cell were stolen off us, but, luckily for us, we still have our passports.

“We’ve been to the embassy and the police here, but they’re not helping issues at all. Our return flight leaves pretty soon from now, but we are having problems sorting the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us check out until we settle the bills. We are freaked out at the moment.”

Anyone replying to the first request was sent: “Glad you replied back. We have nothing left on us right now. We are lucky to have our passports with us. It would have been worse if they had made away with our passports.

“Our return flight leaves pretty soon from now, like I earlier told you. All we owe the hotel is just 1,210 pounds. Once the bills have been taken care of, then we shall quickly catch our return flight back home immediately.

“You can have the money wired to my name via WU b’cos I’ll have to show my passport as an ID to pick it up here.

“I promise to refund back in a couple of days once we made it home safely.

“I owe you a lot, Janet.”

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