A former Belper mayor has been targeted by computer hackers who broke into his email account and tried to con cash out of people he knows.
The cyber crooks managed to lock Randall Sanders out of his email account and then sent a message to more than 250 people claiming he had been robbed of his passport and money while in Madrid and asked for money to be sent to help.
Fortunately, several friends recognised the message as a potential fraud, rang Mr Sanders to alert him and he was able to regain control of the account, despite his password being changed.
Now Mr Sanders, who was mayor of Belper in 2001 and now runs the Belper Celebration events website is warning people who may not realise the email was a scam and alerting people so that they do not fall prey to the hacker.
He said: “These people just have no ethics whatsoever - they are a total nuisance.I hope their computer breaks down.
“You never know who might read this and be conned. I have never been to New York and fortunately some of the people who read the email would know where I am. But others may not.
“People should just be careful . Someone rang up to tell me straight away and I changed my passsword. About four or five then called me during the day. Some also emailed me.
“Other people may not be so lucky.”
The message, which is beleievd to have been sent by a New York-based hacker read: “I am in Madrid, Spain at the moment. I am here for a conference and I just had my bag stolen from me with my passport and personal effects. I have been trying to sort things out with the necessary authorities. I need some assistance from you.”
In June last year, another former Belper mayor, Mick Nelson, was targeted by an email scam, which also claimed he in Madrid, where his cash and credit cards had been stolen.
David Robinson, who helps Mr Sanders run the celebration website suggested there could even be a targeted campaign against former Belper mayors.
“I knew it was a con straight away as I had been talking to Randall in the street in Belper only hours before. He now has his email up and running again.
“The question remains though,why this targeting of Belper Town Mayors or is it part of a wider scam?”