FORMER Agriculture Minister Christopher Tufton has become the latest victim of a case of identity theft.
The Jamaica Labour Party senator yesterday fell prey to scammers who have hacked into his e-mail in a attempt to fleece his contacts of money.
"I'm just hoping this theft is not a wholesale identity theft," Tufton told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
"That's something I'm going to have to check on. I don't know if it's to the extent where they may have access to other things, like credit card," he said.
Tufton found out about the breach of his e-mail yesterday after he started getting calls from friends who had received a particular e-mail from his address, stating that he was robbed during a 'family vacation' in Madrid, Spain and needed cash to clear his hotel bills.
"They stole all our cash, credit cards and phone but thank God we still have our lives and passport," said the fake e-mail, with the subject line, 'Sad Trip (I need your help)'. "Another shocking thing is that the hotel manager has been unhelpful to us for reasons I don't know."
Several of Tufton's friends responded to the e-mail, mainly out of curiosity, as the scam is widely known. Tufton's friends were instructed by the scammer to send the funds through Western union to a particular account.
"Glad you replied back," said the error-laced mail. "Right now am in a local library since I don't have any access to phone at the moment and I have nothing left on me right now but am very lucky to have my life and passports with me, it would have been worst if the muggers had made away with my passports."
Yesterday, Tufton told the Observer that he has not reported the matter to the police and that he wasn't sure if any of his contacts did.
"Identity theft costs millions of millions of dollars every year. It is just unfortunate. Apart from the loss of money the downtime spent trying to recover your identity can be quite significant," Tufton said.