~ Dirty Rotten Hackers, part 1 ~

Posted: July 22, 2021 in Do-it-yourself, Hackers, perseverance, Personal Safety, Scammers, Social media, Top Tips, wake-up calls
Tags: , ,

Last weekend got off to a bad start. At 8 am Thursday, I woke up to find I was locked out of my Outlook and Facebook accounts, and dirty, rotten hackers had taken virtual control of my life. It seems I learned nothing from being scammed (by phone) back in 2016. I had fallen victim to a phishing scam. Gherkins!

Unfortunately, I am not alone. Hacking and scamming can happen to anyone anywhere. These jerks can take our money, ruin our credit rating, scam more people through us, and then they will sell our details to those people who compile sucker lists. One hour after changing the password to one of my accounts, I was alerted by my provider that there had been a new attempt to hack into the same account. Thursday morning, the suspicious activity came from Nigeria, and by Thursday afternoon, the suspicious activity had skipped countries to Australia!

Four days later, however, and I had restored peace on all fronts. Let me tell you how I did it, with a hacking checklist of the steps to take to recover control of your accounts. But, first, let us have a brush up on the signs to watch out for whenever you are online, so you can avoid getting hacked or scammed in the first place.

Three red flags to watch out for:


*First Red Flag: They will say they are from a big reputable company because you are more likely to take them seriously. Microsoft is one of the most commonly-used covers. Scammers called me on my old landline and told me they were calling from Microsoft in 2016, and then the hacking event last week came apparently from Microsoft Customer Service.
*My Tip: Find the local phone number. Every country, even little old New Zealand, will have a landline for a branch of a giant corporation like Microsoft, and you can ask them if the request for action you have received is bonafide.

*Second Red Flag: They want you to act immediately.
*My Tip: Anything can wait till the next day. If they have given you a deadline to act by, wait until morning. If you pass the deadline they have given you, and nothing happens, then you will know they are dirty rotten hackers.

*Third Red Flag: They always want money, sooner or later. The request might not come first or second, it might be months down the track, but as soon as they ask for money, you can smell a rat. In my case, they did not request money from me but from all my friends and contacts, who they asked to purchase $300 Amazon gift cards on my behalf.
*My Tip: As soon as they request money and you smell that rat, trust your instincts and ask for proof of identity. If they are your friend, ask how you know each other, where did you first meet? Or ask to speak to them by video face-to-face call. Then, see how fast they run.

Hacking Checklist:


*Call the police. Yes. Information theft is a crime, and you need to report it. It will not only grant you as the victim support and guidance, but it will also help the police protect others. In New Zealand, the police encourage us to email a report to the police as well, via the site https://www.cert.govt.nz/individuals/
*Find the phishing emails and forward them to the police, as this helps keep them up to date with cyber-crime. Then block the senders.
*Call the bank. Alert them to your situation, ask them to put a hold on your credit card until you have had your computer cleaned of viruses and malware.
*Contact all the people on your friend lists to alert them to your situation.
*Tell your email provider about the scam.
*Change your online passwords to ones that are long and strong. Make sure you create a unique password for each account. Enable two-factor authentication.
*To recover your Facebook account, follow the steps by visiting https://www.facebook.com/hacked Report the problem to Facebook.
*Take your computer to IT professionals and check your system for malware. It is the only way to be 100% certain you are free. I backed up all my files then had my laptop wiped clean and reset.
*


In these ways I was able to reclaim control of my virtual life. I hope this post helps someone else! I will share Part Two next week with some of my tips on cyber security.


Stay safe, everyone! Let’s foil the bad guys by staying one step ahead.

Keep Creating!
Take care,
Yvette Carol
*


“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind!” – C.S. Lewis.

Comments
  1. What you describe is rather common I’m afraid Yvette. Someone tried to ‘get’ me using a friend’s name through Messenger on Facebook. Good on you putting your experience out there so others can be aware of such scams. Hope your computer is all cleaned up now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Vivienne. I think one of the reasons people don’t share more about their hacking experiences is because they feel humiliated. But our silence plays into their hands. Since my hacking last week, I’ve spoken to lots of friends and heard many similar stories. I’m determined to share the information as widely as possible.

      Like

  2. draeko says:

    Hi, Yvette.
    I knew something was up.
    Read the following email thread I had from “you” last week.

    Basically, though, I knew it wasn’t you. It didn’t fit your personality as I’ve come to know it from afar.

    I had to wait for the newsletter before I was certain I ‘d be responding to you as opposed to the hackers.

    “Yvette Carol
    Wed 7/14/2021 12:59 PM
    Hello,

    How are you doing, do you have an account with Amazon ?

    Thanks.

    damen smith-draeko
    Thu 7/15/2021 1:13 AM
    yes. I do.

    How can I help?

    Yvette Carol
    Thu 7/15/2021 1:14 AM
    Alright, I’ve been trying to purchase a $200 Amazon email gift card from Amazon,
    but I don’t know what’s wrong with my amazon account it’s not going through and have called Amazon but it has not been resolved yet.
    I intend to buy it for a friend, it’s her birthday today. Can you purchase it from your end for me? I ‘ll reimburse you as soon as possible.
    I am just trying to put a smile on her face in this trying time. Let me know so i can send you her email address.

    Thanks once again.

    damen smith-draeko
    Thu 7/15/2021 1:16 AM
    Prove to me that you are Yvette Carol.

    Yvette Carol
    Thu 7/15/2021 1:17 AM
    Omg Okay just because I needed favor from you that’s why you asking me this

    What did you want me to prove?

    damen smith-draeko
    Thu 7/15/2021 1:20 AM
    This is not Yvette.

    Yvette Carol
    Thu 7/15/2021 1:21 AM
    What did you mean by this?

    Damen Smith (D.S. Draeko)

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks for sharing, Damen! It sounds like a man to me. The audacity of his attitude towards you is staggering. You did the right thing when you asked for proof. His reaction should have set all the alarm bells ringing, which they did. I applaud you for being savvy. Some of my friends actually paid the $300, but their banks have reimbursed them, thank goodness.

      Like

      • draeko says:

        You have friends willing to jump for you when they think you needed it. If you didn’t know that yet, (which I’m sure you did) you certainly do now. I’m glad they were reimbursed of course. But they stepped up fast for you, and these miscreants or miscreants had taken advantage of that.
        They prey on our good natures. Old Chinese saying: “Trust but confirm.”

        Like

  3. Sorry this happened, Yvette. Sadly, I don’t trust anyone so my problems aren’t generated this way. I’ll get a trojan horse through my backdoor. They can and do cause big PIA. Glad you were able to come away without huge problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Joylene. I thought I was more onto it, however, this latest crowd played the long game with me and had been sending me emails for a year and a half before they finally stepped up the pressure. Another friend told me they had stolen a friend’s identity and had been emailing back and forth in a friendly fashion with her for six months before they requested a donation for their charity. At that point, she rang the friend and discovered they had been impersonating her, also playing the long game. Scary times!

      Like

  4. […] Last week, I shared a hacking checklist and the warning signs to watch out for in my first post, Dirty Rotten Hackers, Part 1. This week, let’s talk about how to prevent it from happening to […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s