Police have warned the public to be on the look-out for email scams that could wipe all of the information stored on your computer.
Neighbourhood Watch liaison officer Andy Reynolds sent a newsletter out to tell people about a Berkhamsted woman who had her computer hacked.
The hacker sent an email from the victim to everyone in her address book, claiming she had been robbed in Dubai and needed money to get back to the UK.
The computer records of a friend who opened it, family photos and all, were wiped.
Mr Reynolds, who works for Herts Police, said: “Several watch members have had similar experiences. It is likely that the scammers depend on the opening of an attachment or link to get into your computer systems.
“Do not open attachments or use links unless you are sure it is safe to do so.”
Police advice is to ignore emails from unrecognised sources or where the spelling or literacy is obviously bad. Other emails to be wary about are ones that do not refer to you by name or that come from ‘banks’ that do not refer to your account details.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from these scams at www.getsafeonline.org
To report an email scam or virus, visit www.actionfraud.org.uk