Hank Winchester: How I fell for a fake follow-up email scam -- make sure it doesn’t happen to you

It happened to me. Has it ever happened to you? I’m talking about making a dumb mistake. I’m sure we all have at some point, right?

DETROIT – It happened to me. Has it ever happened to you? I’m talking about making a dumb mistake. I’m sure we all have at some point, right?

Mine led our general manager to request a meeting with me. Now, while I like the GM, no one wants to get called to the boss’s office, right?

On this day, I was told, “Hank, you made a mistake that really took me by surprise, because you know this stuff better than anyone.” I knew right away what he was talking about.

It was an email I opened that was a test. It was sent from corporate, but disguised to look like a follow-up email from PayPal. In my defense, it seemed legit to me. I had just ordered something and used PayPal to pay for the item for my daughter. It was a busy morning, and I was distracted. I didn’t take the time to stop and read it. Then, boom. The follow-up email told me I had failed the test. Darn it.

Listen, I warn you all about this stuff all the time, and me, “Detroit’s consumer investigator,” failed the test. I’m sharing this because I don’t want you to fail. The outcome could be very bad. You’re talking about destroying your credit or affecting your company in a big way.

Right now, seniors (who may be confused) and college students (who may be distracted) are being affected most. So please share this warning with them.

Oh, and by the way, my daughter got the item I ordered and my information was safe. I’m glad I, too, was forced to learn this lesson again.


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.