No one was more surprised to discover he had been robbed at gunpoint while holidaying in Spain than Napier Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Brian Hall.
The first he knew about his "misfortune" was when a friend telephoned him at his Napier home on Monday afternoon.
"And the phone has been ringing since," he said yesterday as he sought to restore order to what had been his personal email address.
Mr Hall became the latest victim of an international computer scam which first emerged about two years ago, and which Hawke's Bay police crime prevention officer Paul Miller said "surfaces from time to time".
In the past it had also caught out some people who responded to the plea for help from who they thought was a friend in need.
Which nearly happened in Mr Hall's case when the people on his contacts list received the "send money" plea on a message bearing his email address.
The scammers had tapped into his computer's email system and took his address as well as his password and contacts list.
"I think they got in through a website we may have accessed at some time and picked up the password somehow."
Mr Hall said he and his wife had looked at travel websites recently, and suspected one of them may have been the "doorway" in for the scammers.
It was his second brush with the scam in recent days.
Last week he was a recipient - along with other members of his Rotary club - of an email from a friend holidaying in Australia which gave the same story that had victimised him.
What made things worse was that the scammers deleted his contact list, so he was unable to email and warn all the people who may have received the message.
"Hope you get this in time," the message began. "This message is coming to you with great depression due to my state of discomfort." It went on to describe how he was robbed at gunpoint and lost his cash, phone and credit cards. It then went on to ask for "a short loan" of €1950.
Mr Hall said he heard yesterday from a friend in Canada who had received the email.
"She got to the stage where she was talking to the bank and her internet provider - she went in with her heart more than her head - until she decided to reply and gave her phone number for 'me' to call her to sort things out."
She then received a slightly threatening reply accusing her of not trusting him.
"That's when she pulled out - she knew it wasn't me."
Telecom were trying to recover his deleted contact folder and he had installed a new password.
"People need to be aware this is happening. These people can lift email addresses and contact folders."