Published: Jun 17, 2010 3:46 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 16, 2010 11:27 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Internet spam often means internet scam, and it’s possible that you may be a victim of one without even knowing it. Dozens of e-mail scams are currently circulating throughout the cybernet world. Beware of thieves attempting to steal your identity by "hacking" into your personal e-mail account. 

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line has received numerous calls from residents who have had their e-mail address book or their contacts on their social networking site such as Facebook "hijacked". Using the victim’s stolen e-mail address book the cyber thief pretending to be you, sends a note stating that while out of the country an unfortunate incident has occurred and “you” need money to return to the United States. The e-mail asks for the money to be sent via Western Union or Moneygram. Unfortunately, the scammer often disables the victim’s actual e- mail account or installs bad software, known as "malware" making it impossible for you to warn your family and friends of this "hijacking".

Avoid becoming a victim of this latest e-mail scam by:
1. Using security software that updates automatically.
2. Keep your operating system and Web browser up-to-date and learn about their security features.
3. Keep your passwords safe, secure and strong.
4. Back up important files.
5. Protect your personal information.
6. Learn what to do in an "e"-mergency.

To report a fraud or scam or to find out if that phone call, email, letter or the person at your door is trying to scam you contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-477-1242.