‘Hacking scandal’ - Former Mayor of Limerick closes email account

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A FORMER Mayor of Limerick has been forced to close down his personal email account after it was hacked this week by someone seeking thousands of euro in an “elaborate hoax”.

A FORMER Mayor of Limerick has been forced to close down his personal email account after it was hacked this week by someone seeking thousands of euro in an “elaborate hoax”.

Fine Gael councillor Jim Long’s account was the subject of a hoax email on Monday, urgently requesting nearly €3,000 as it falsely claimed he was attacked on holiday in Spain and had all his belongings stolen from him. Cllr Long said he feared people would be taken in by the scam and closed his account.

He is warning people not to send money to the bogus account as they will lose their cash and he could be held personally liable. He said the email was sent to hundreds of his contacts, including a number of State bodies, appealing for funds.

“It’s an elaborate hoax for someone to gain money through false pretences. We have to disengage ourselves from it. I want to clearly advise people that it is a hoax - do not respond to it, delete it,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Another email account and a fake Twitter account, purporting to be from Cllr Long, are also the subject of a garda investigation due to the nature of the emails. The Twitter account – called @MayorJimbo – was apparently a parody of Limerick’s first citizen, but the last tweet sent from that account was in late February. The then mayor is described on the Twitter account as a “visionary, poet, statesman, lawyer, scientist, philosopher. Leader of my people.” In particular it ridiculed his trip to China.

However, he believes this latest email, sent from cllrjimlong@yahoo.co.uk, may have been sent by a different person. The hoax stated: “I’m sorry for this emergency and for not informing you about our urgent trip to Spain but I just have to let you know my present predicament. Everything was fine until we was attacked on our way back to the hotel, we wasn’t hurt but I lost my money, bank cards, mobile phone and the bag of my wife in the course of this attack... I will like you to assist me with a loan of 2,950 euros to sort-out my hotel bills.”