CREATED Jun. 26, 2013
MARCO ISLAND, Fla.- A Collier County tour company is cleaning up a big online mess after owners said they were hooked, lined and scammed by phishers going after personal information and their customer's cash.
As Steven Banks was about to set sail Tuesday for another day of Dreamlander Tours, he said his company was flooded with phone calls from concerned friends and customers about an email sent to thousands of contacts from the company's account.
" They sent out an email stating we were overseas and that we'd been mugged and we needed to catch our plane but needed to settle a tab of $1,800 and were in desperate need." Banks said.
But, the only desperate need Steven said he was in was for damage control. He said hackers broke into the Dreamlander Tours Yahoo email, wiped out everything and changed the password in hopes of cashing in on his customers.
" Literally thousands, the database of thousands of past customers and how we communicate with them, make them aware of new tours was all deleted and gone." Banks said.
Steven and his wife reported the scam to Yahoo.com but so far the hackers haven't been traced. So, to avoid getting scammed the United States Computer Readiness Team said if you get an email detailing a dramatic situation asking you to secure and sent funds in a foreign country, you can assume it is a scam.
Also, filter spam, don't trust unsolicited email, install anti virus software and be sure to keep it up to date. As for Dreamlander Tours, owners said they'll beef up their online protection.
"When you look at a small business like us you read our profile online you can get our name and basic information. In that they were able to see we travel overseas, they had it down to almost a science." Banks said.
Company owners said luckily everyone who had contacted them about the email realized it was a scam. To learn more about phishing emails click on the big red 4.