DUBOIS, CLEARFIELD COUNTY---Jennifer Fitzgerald became a victim of identity theft this morning, but they’re not just going after her, they’re also trying to scam everyone she knows in the process.
“Here’s an email I just got back,” Fitzgerald said as she reads from her computer screen, “’I have already given you the information to send it to. Here it is again. Get back to me with the Western Union information.’”
Someone is posing as Fitzgerald, emailing all of her contacts saying she is in desperate need of cash.
“They were sending mass emails saying I was in London and I was robbed at gunpoint, and everything was stolen from me except my passports, and that I needed money immediately to get my flight home, and apparently the U.S. Embassy was no help,” Fitzgerald said.
She works at Kurt Johnson Auto Sales in DuBois and said she was working late last night when she opened an email that she thought was a customer’s credit application.
“My virus scan showed that it was a weird email, so I clicked out of it, and next thing you know I can’t get into my email now, I can’t get into my own personal records. I’m locked out, basically, of everything,” she said.
To her knowledge, none of her contacts have sent money to the scammer.
James Bonante, a business associate of Fitzgerald’s, got the email this morning and said it didn’t convince him, even though it came from an email address of someone he knows.
“I’ve seen them in the past,” Bonante said, “Like people from Europe will email you and say the same thing, like they own a bunch of land out here and stuff like that. I would just ignore and delete it like I did this morning.”
But Fitzgerald said it’s not just her email that’s being jeopardized.
“Somebody tried to log in to my personal online banking, so it’s pretty scary. They could clear my account out,” she said, “So I had to hurry up and rush to the banks to cancel my accounts and get everything in order there, and I think I caught it in time. I hope. I’m going to pull a credit report here tomorrow to make sure.”
Fitzgerald said this person is answering people’s questions when they email back, pretending to be her. So finally, she decided to let them know that’s she’s aware of what they’re doing.
“I opened up another email address and emailed myself saying I really needed to get my information back, and they sent back, if I send $1,800 to the information below, they’ll give me my email address back,” she said.
DuBois Police said there’s not much they can do to track this person down, especially if no transactions have been made, but they have filed a report. They said if you get that email, or any other email asking for money or information, that you should never respond.
The Western Union fraud department is also investigating the situation.