Very early this morning at dark’o’thirty, I was rudely awakened with the news: my email sent everyone in my address book a message that I was in Cyprus, my bag was stolen, and I needed money right now. Half-asleep, I shook my eyes awake by staring at my computer screen. This is what I discovered:
- Email hijackers regularly break into someone’s email, set up a bogus email account (mine was my name but at yahoo instead of gmail), and then have a person’s legitimate email diverted to the bogus account.
- First thing: change your password for your legitimate email account, which I did (and for just about everything else too).
- Second thing: go to email settings, and delete the order to forward your real email to a fake account (done in a minute).
- Third thing: get bogus email account reported and deleted.
This third thing has been a minor bane of my existence today. Yahoo doesn’t have adequate people to answer the phone (I waited for 40 minutes, then the call was dropped), and the email forum to report abuse only garners very slow response (just one small contact so far without action). The worst part is discovering that two people sent money, one who was able to retrieve her money, and one who is in process for what I’m hoping is successful retrieval.
Meanwhile, there is a Fellini-esque up side: I’ve heard from many people, some of whom I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time. By the end of the day, I have two lunch dates set up for next week with old friends, another friend gave me a delicious piece of Christopher Elbow chocolate, and I’ve received offers of help, if this plea was legitimate, from my financial advisor, one of my doctors, and, to my great surprise, the UAW (Goddard faculty are unionized with the United Auto Workers). 18 phone calls, well over 100 emails, a dozen facebook messages, and four texts later, I’m here to say that I am blessed with very caring friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances.
Meanwhile, my scam-shadow, lounges on a beach in Cyprus, a little distributed that it will take her a week to get a new passport to return home, but happy with the view, the dolmas, and the lovely notes from friends back home.