Beccles library officer helps thwart internet scam
12:01 09 December 2011
A quick thinking member of staff at Beccles library has been congratulated for her efforts in helping to stop an internet scam which could have potentially conned web users out of thousands of pounds.
"I was just very pleased to help a customer and potentially save a lot of people a lot of expense and heartache."
Inquiry officer at the Blyburgate-based library, Nicky Bedwell, helped to stop the website cloning scam after being alerted to it by regular user Hugh Blowers, after he tried to access his friend’s Yorkshire holiday let website.
Mrs Bedwell said it was all in a day’s work for her and described it as “just doing my job”.
She said: “Following the Netloan update on the library’s computers, Mr Blowers was having trouble logging on to a site he uses regularly, where he books a Yorkshire cottage for holidays. I went over to see if I could help, thinking initially that it might be something to do with the update.
“Mr Blowers could not remember the exact web address of the holiday cottage so was trying to access the site through Google.
By clicking on the link from the Google webpage, the holiday cottage webpage appeared but in the address bar there was an unknown address ending with .ru, not .co.uk or .com as expected.
“I queried that with Mr Blowers who straight away said that it was not the web address for the holiday cottage. He rang the owner of the holiday cottage site, who then tried to access her own site and the same thing happened. It was apparent that a Russian site had hacked into the holiday cottage site.”
Following Mr Blowers’ phone call, the holiday cottage owner then contacted BT and Google immediately, who have investigated and confirmed that the Russian site was able to view all personal details and bank details of everyone booking a holiday through the website online.
Mrs Bedwell added: “The owner was then able to contact all her recent contacts to ensure that their bank accounts and credit cards had not been cloned.”
Mr Blowers believes had it not been for Mrs Bedwell and the technology on the library computers then the scam would not have been picked up as quickly as it was.
He said: “Nicky uncovered a large scale internet scam and saved a friend of ours a great deal of money and embarrassment. Through her sussing this out so quickly, I was able to alert the person concerned, get the facts checked and allow preventative action.
“This scam was being worked on several other sites as well, so Nicky’s quick action saved the day.”
Mrs Bedwell added: “I think that library staff are very aware of the potential for internet scams and hacking, and I was just very pleased to help a customer and potentially save a lot of people a lot of expense and heartache.”