A Tauranga City councillor has become the latest victim of an identity theft scam.
Just hours after a council workshop on Friday, the Bay of Plenty Times received an email claiming to be from councillor Murray Guy claiming he had been mugged and robbed in the Philippines and appealing for funds to help settle the hotel bill.
Mr Guy said it was the second time in 18 months his email account had been hacked, but as far as he knew no one had been sucked in by the scam.
His wife had also been hit by a similar scam which stated she was stuck in the United States.
"I've had a number of phone calls and messages left about it. I've even had phone calls from the Auditor General's office in Wellington," Mr Guy said.
"Anyone you've had email contact with gets fired an email."
It read: "This message is coming to you with great depression due to my state of discomfort.
"I came down here to Quezon City, Philippines, with my family for a short vacation but unfortunately, we were mugged and robbed at the park of the hotel where we stayed.
"All cash, credit cards and cell phones were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our lives and passports.
"We've been to the embassy and the police here but they're not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in less than 12hrs from now but we are having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills about US$1,950.
Can you help us out? Get back to me immediately to let you know the easiest way to get the fund to us."
Mr Guy had changed his password earlier in the week when he heard about the latest round of Telecom email accounts being hacked, but even that was not enough to protect him.
More frustrating than the phishing email sent out was the loss of all of the contacts, emails and documents stored in his account.
"For somebody in my position it's really quite devastating because you lose everything. I had a number of emails I considered quite important and they are all gone," he said. "They change your password so you can't get in and while they are in there they suck it dry."