Basalt business owner warns of computer email scam
If you get an email stating Federal Express unsuccessfully tried to deliver a package to your address, don’t open it, advises Basalt business owner John Fitzpatrick.
The owner of High Tone Automotive received such an email Friday. The message said he had to open an attachment to get information about the sender and tracking information. When Fitzpatrick arrived at work on Monday he found his computer had been “hijacked” after he opened the attachment. All his Excel files were encrypted and there were instructions about where to send payment via Bitcoin, the digital asset and payment system, to regain access to his files.
“They’re professionals,” Fitzpatrick said. He knew the warnings about not opening attachments on emails surrounded by any uncertainty, but he said he does a lot of business through FedEx and thought he possibly missed a package during altered hours for Fourth of July.
He is going to pay the ransom to earn the release of his computer’s files. He estimated it will cost about $320. Fortunately, he said, the attack didn’t affect his firm’s server.
Fitzpatrick said he is aware of at least one other person who received the same email, though he had already been warned by Fitzpatrick and didn’t open the attachment. Fitzpatrick wants to get the word out to other people, and specifically business owners who might be targeted, not to open the email.
“That’s all I’m after,” Fitzpatrick said of awareness of the scam. “It’s not ‘Woe is me.’”
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