February 2013 - Posts

Identity Theft - Don't be a Victim
Tue, Feb 12 2013 5:59 PM

I'm not a technical person. To prove it my computer was at the computer hospital for 5 days with the black plague...."oh no, not the black plague." But Dr. Chris, how could this have happened?? Did I download anything recently? Well, yes. Norton did their usual check and said there were 16 drivers that needed repair or replaced. They suggested  XYZ Company. So I bought XYZ software for $35 and downloaded it following the wizard instructions. After it was downloaded, it went to work and fixed all 16 drivers.

But my problems actually began when my hotmail email account disappeared for 2 full weeks.... Poof! Gone! All my contacts, bill paying information gone. Fortunately, I have another email account, but I had recently just started using it and not all my contacts were in it yet. I started notifying everyone that I pay bills on line with and changed my email address. I did pretty good...I only missed one. But to contact all my friends in both Ohio and Arizona, I had no idea how I was going to do that.

To make matters worse I got a call from one of the banks that I had a credit card at. They asked me if I was in possession of my credit card and if I was traveling. This was about 1/2 hour after placing a fabric order.  I asked very meekly why all the questions. Someone had just tried to make a large purchase in Europe using my account number. Gulp! I assured the lady that it wasn't me, that I had the credit card in hand, and had just made a purchase at an online fabric shop and that was all. She said sorry she would have to close my account immediately. She wasn't joking; while talking to her I got on line and couldn't access my own account. Great. Two days later I got a new card and statement showing my old balance. Darn and I thought maybe I wouldn't have to pay for that card! hahaha

Funny, but right after that my hotmail email showed up again. Hmmmm. There were 187 emails to go thru. Took 3 weeks to clean out that hotmail account. I just have family photos, then I'm done. Bye, bye hotmail!!!!

During this time I've had 2 notices from Facebook that someone hacked into my Facebook account, changed my password and settings. What is going on here?  Identity Theft!!! In the second letter Facebook advised me to call them. So I did and they walked me thru getting back into my account, reset the password, and other measures to safeguard my Facebook account. I feel better, but definately compromised.

Soon after that happened I received a call from another bank where I have a credit card. Yep the same story.

I'm a parish ministry assistant when I lived in Arizona. I had the assistant to the Treasurer of the state of Arizona come and talk to members of our congregation about identity theft. I also had an attorney who dealt with identity theft talk to our LWML (ladies mission league). I do all the things that they advised. I shred everything with my address on. I don't carry unnecessary credit cards with me. I'm careful about people standing too close to me when I'm handling a transaction.

So how did this all happen to me??? I don't know, but I feel it all started when my hotmail account suddenly disappeared in thin air. I believe hackers got it and all my information out of the hotmail account. My advise to you is DO NOT keep all your passwords, account numbers, personal information in your email account or on your computer as far as that goes. Hackers are smart and they can find anything on your computer. Don't be a victim of identity theft.

by Linda | with no comments