Ocean Pines staff members and others recently received phony emails claiming to come from General Manager John Viola and Association President Doug Parks.
One email, appearing to come from Viola and sent to a staff member on Saturday, said, “I need you to run a quick task, are you free?”
Upon replying, the staffer was then asked to go to a nearby Target, CVS or Walmart to buy eBay gift cards for a client. The matter was immediately referred to Ocean Pines Police and administration.
Several Board members reported receiving similar emails that appeared to come from Parks.
“In today’s world, anybody on the internet can create a fake or false name and claim to be somebody else,” Ocean Pines Police Chief David Massey said. “A quick way to check for scammers is to examine the actual email address of the sender. If it looks strange, it is strange!
“The next step would be to verify with the real individual that the email sender was a scammer. Never wire money or send money without actual verification of the real person, which YOU have initiated and personally verified!” Massey added.
Anyone who receives a suspicious email is asked to report the matter to Ocean Pines Police at 410-641-7747 or DMassey@oceanpines.org.