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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When Identity Theft Happens To You

I thought I was done with this blog. Thought I had posted on it for the last time.

Why? Because Nigerian hackers got into my google email account (so my whole Google account, including Blogger), changed my password and then sent this email to nearly everyone I have ever emailed.

Subject: Horrible Experience!!

Sorry I did not inform you about our trip.We actually made a quick travel to Brighton and unfortunately we were attacked at gun point on the way to our hotel,all cash,credit card and cell phone were taken away from us but luckily we still have our passport with us.

I`ve been to the embassy here but they're not helping issues at all and our return flight leaves today but we`re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills

Am freaked out at the moment and i need your help right away

Yeah, I mentioned the EVER part, in "they sent this email to anyone I had ever emailed. Ever." right?
Considering I had 1600 emails in my InBox which doesn't include Facebook or Twitter notifications or anything, they sent it to a lot of people.

The publisher I am soon to be interning with left a voicemail for me while I was at work about it. Today I got a call from my property agent. My parents had international phone calls from friends and family overseas.

The people that replied to this email were then asked to send between $1300-1800 via Western Union and though the people I have managed to contact know it's a scam (though some were worried) I don't know how to contact others.

Though I doubt anyone would have sent money - I sure hope they wouldn't - I have no way of knowing who it went out to. Oh yeah - did I mention they deleted my contacts list too? I imagine it went out to all of the agents and publishers I have queried over the years. I'm so sorry. My records of who I queried were in my Google account.

Oh - and when I say I HAD 1600 emails in my inbox, I say HAD because they are not there anymore. Every email I ever sent or received was deleted. I don't know why they would do that. Anyone? Do you know why hackers delete your emails and contacts?

So I finally managed to get back into my account today. The hackers had changed the email address to send a security code, and they'd changed the phone number for it as well. They had set it so that all of my emails were being forwarded to another email address, but when they replied it would look like they were coming from me.

I had to give a statement at the police station on Sunday, and their (under-resourced and under-funded) E-crimes division are on it. Mind you if it's international there's nothing they can really do.
Google recorded the IP addresses of some foreign activity, and there were 3 different IP addresses in Nigeria and 1 in the United States that had been accessing my email. I've forwarded them to the police but I doubt they can do anything.

I have to say, it made me feel quite vulnerable. I had no control over stopping these a-holes from scamming my friends. And they got into my facebook and deleted any mention of them as well when I had been warning my friends not to email me. They changed my passwords in Facebook as well but I managed to get back in. I must be more computer-savvy than they anticipated.

Anyway, that's my story. I'm sorry everyone, and I hope no one gave "me" any money to get me home.

Be careful on the internet everyone. It's not always your friend.



  1. Holy. Crapoly. This is scary stuff! I'm so sorry, you poor thing, it must've been so frightening for you to discover someone had hacked into your account. Stupid Nigerian robbers *shakes fist*

    At least you're back on track now, and (hopefully) scam-free once more :)

  2. Ugh. I sort of feel like that email address is now permanently dirty. Don't think I'll be using it anymore. Just don't know how to transfer my blog to another email address. If I did I'd totally close down that account.
    Thanks for your support, Caitlin!

  3. FYI Just got another request for $$ from you via YALITCHAT. They aren't done. Damn.

  4. Sigh. I thought it was over. Okay. I've shut down my account. They changed my email address and password for it. They might get an email notification and be asked if they REALLY want to cancel the account. So can you be on the lookout for me still on the boards?


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