Well known Northland jazz musician Joe Carbery wants everybody to know that he's not stuck in Ukraine after losing his wallet and doesn't want people to send him $2000 to get out of the country.
Instead, Mr Carbery told us from his Kaipara home yesterday, he has been the victim of a scam where his email account has been hacked into and emails telling a typical sob story sent to all his contacts in the hope money will be sent to the scammers.
It's a scam that's been around almost as long as emails have been and several Northlanders have been hit with it in the past. It has forced Mr Carbery to try to contact everybody on the email list and his email provider, but the hackers have changed his password and locked him out of his email account.
The Northern Advocate received one of the scam emails yesterday and immediately recognised it as such and contacted Mr Carbery to alert him, but somebody else had already been in touch so he had put details about it on his Facebook page.
The email said: "i really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. we had to be in Ukraine for a program. The program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. we misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.
"I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a loan of $2000 from you. this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest. Thanks so much."
Typically once a person responds to the email they are given a bank account to send the money to, which goes into the pockets of the scammers.
"It's definitely not me, I've never been to Ukraine. I'm here," Mr Carbery said.
"I don't want people to think I might be over there looking for a Russian wife or something. I've been married twice and in another long relationship so I'm not rushing into that again just yet."
He said the scam would cause him a lot of inconvenience, but he hoped that none of his contacts would be out of pocket by falling for it.
Lee Chisholm, operations manager for NetSafe said this is a common scam and anybody who receives such an email purportedly from a friend in trouble should treat it with a pinch of salt until they can confirm it.