Charity's Email List Hijacked

Another charity has had its email hacked into, but the hackers were tapping into names, not accounts.

“Yes, we have a lot of people donating." The donations are for a silent auction to benefit Sheltering Tree, a nonprofit with plans to build apartments for young adults with special needs. “Meeting their needs, their dreams, their hopes."

Charity founder Shirley McNally says don't believe an email that she needs a handout because she's stranded in Europe. "Nobody really believed that, but they knew I had been hacked.”

Scammers hacked the nonprofit’s computer, then hijacked 150 email addresses of volunteers and donors. “They make use of the generosity of those people to try and scam them. It’s a very unkind thing to do.”

Aaron Zavitz got the email and recognized the scam. “Commas in the wrong place or not the right words.” The email hijackers are likely overseas.

The nonprofit had a password of only seven characters that wasn't hard to figure out. It has now made it more than 20, a little more for users to remember, but harder for scammers to gain random access.

Patrick McNally hopes he's locked out hackers from the charity's email. “Vary from capitalized to lower case and throw a symbol or two in there if you can.” Shirley says Sheltering Tree is an important cause and she won't let anyone hack into its email roots again.

Fact Finders learned of two other nonprofit groups that also had email lists hijacked in recent weeks. Though hundreds of friends and donors received the bogus requests for help, nobody seems to have sent any money.


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