Priest not stranded in Scotland

May 26, 2010 4:19:40 PM PDT
Father Dan McLellan is used to handling spiritual problems - he's a priest at Immaculate Conception in Durham. But computer problems proved the biggest headache Wednesday morning.

"I got a call from my sister this morning at about a quarter to seven," he said. "And she mentioned that she got this crazy e-mail from a, that I was in Scotland, that I had been robbed, I needed money."

"I'm writing this with tears in my eyes" says the e-mail. "I was robbed at gun point and I don't have enough money to get back home."

Someone hacked into McLellan's personal e-mail account and sent the horrid story to all his contacts.

"So, I tried to get onto my e-mail account and couldn't access it. Evidently, they changed the password and so forth and then the phone started ringing," he said.

A lot of church members figured out the e-mail was a fake. But the church office was still flooded with phone calls. People were asking how Father Dan was, if he was okay. A couple of people came ready to wire money to help him.

The Attorney General's office says they've heard of these scams before and say never give your personal information through e-mail to a stranger. But it looks like the hacker didn't think that far ahead.

"There's no indication of even where to send this. If people believe this and wanted to help you, there's was nothing to do but respond back and so that leads me to wonder, what's this person's game plan?" said McLellan.

Someone did get a reply from the hacker. He wanted a wire transfer to an address in Scotland. He didn't get it.

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