Email phishing target, friends recount scam attempt

Learn to spot the most common phishing attempts

By Lauren Freeman - Anchor

HOUSTON - Kristi Moonan wants to warn others after clicking on the links inside a suspicious email.

"Everybody communicates through emails. So for me to get my email is very important and I think these people who are doing this know that. You can't fool me much, but it looked very valid," Moonan recalled.

Scammers sent Moonan an email that said her mailbox was full and immediate action was needed.

"It looked about as real as it could look. It was from AOL. It was. It had the brand name on it. It was a very specific letter," she said.

Moonan clicked on a link in the email, followed the prompt to change her password and in that process shared her existing password. She believes that's how the hackers got in. And then her friends started getting hit.

One of those friends is Tom Hakim.

"The first contact was an email that came right from Kris' email address," Hakim said.

In this case, the hacker, posing as Moonan, told Hakim she was stuck in Greece and needed money right away.

"Then it really struck me strange because, believe it or not, there are other ways when you're around the country, (or) around the world, to get money if you lost your identification," Hakim said.

Hakim called Moonan’s office, found out she was not in Greece. Moonan started getting more phone calls.

"It contacted people from way, way back in my past who I haven't heard from in seven, eight, nine, 10, years," Moonan explained.

Moonan changed her password again. It took about 48 hours for the fake emails to stop coming. Moonan and Hakim are sharing the story, so you won't fall for this scam.

"I don't want anybody to let their money, hard-earned money, get into anybody else's hands," Moonan said.

Never click on suspicious links and if you get sob story in an email from a friend, don't reply. Instead reach out to them another way to find out what's really going on.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2