With Tears In My Eyes

Real Estate Agent with REMAX River Cities. Inc
My Predicament

Recently my e-mail was hacked how is still beyond me or my web tech, we suspect tracking cookies through spam e-mails It is very important not to open any suspicious e-mails, (even with virus scan,malware scans, spyware, adware any of it there’s always a window for hacker to snake his way through). This was a terrible thing E-mails were sent to all 1800 contacts not even close to using proper grammar or spelling and many were fooled by this! I received roughly 100 phone calls that morning of concern for my well being. This is the email they sent:

‘I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, We came down here to United Kingdom for a short vacation unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed,all cash,credit cards and cells were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us. We have been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in less than 3hrs from now but having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills, I'm freaked out at the moment.’

I was in a tailspin that morning I was so flustered with no access to my Gmail and didn’t even know what to do! So I called my Web Tech and he had another job! Luckily he understood the severity of the issue and made time in his schedule to help me. We recovered the Gmail account through a ridiculous Gmail recovery process and they had drafts of response e-mails ready to go, and send off if someone replied. That read:

’ Glad you came online, ,my flight leaves soon, all i need now is $1970’

they also sent personal e-mails to people who asked for proof that it was in fact me. Then there was an e-mail forward setting to a foreign email address to do all of the responses through this e-mail of course is next to impossible to trace, the only thing you can recover about who it is that has you hacked is general area which in the “My Predicament” scams case is located in Nigeria.

What to do if this happens to you!

This scam started about 2 years ago and has been increasingly growing in popularity due to easy placement of tracking cookies in your browser through social networking sites such as Facebook which practically gives them the information to hack your account manually at times, which brings me to a quick point that needs to be made Do not over inform on Facebook there’s some profile information better left unsaid that a lot of people just see the form and fill out info. Back to the main point if these tracers can be slipped in through any unsecure connection on the internet, and when they are slipped into your browser, system, etc you become extremely vulnerable! With every keystroke and movement watched by someone whose sole intention is to steal your information/identity.

If this sort of thing does happen to you there are some email settings you should check to prevent the hackers from recovering it back from you. It’s recommended by google if you check these settings I it is a gmail account if it isn’t just find the same settings on whatever it happens with but it seems popular with Gmail and Comcast accounts due to the email forwarding having lack of security.

Account Security: Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Google Account Settings -> Change Password [pick a new secure password] Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Google Account Settings -> Change Password Recovery Options [verify secret question, SMS and secondary e-mail address] Potential Spam: Settings -> General -> Signature [make sure nothing as been added] Settings -> General -> Vacation Responder [make sure it's disabled and empty] E-mail Theft Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Send Mail As [make sure it is using your correct e-mail address] Settings -> Filters [no filters that forward or delete e-mail] Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> Forwarding [disabled or correct address] Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> POP Download [disabled] Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> IMAP Access [disabled

How do I Protect Myself? The best way to protect yourself is a heavy artillery of scans which I have a list with links to the best FREE scanning programs to keep your computer safe the only thing I recommend that you pay for is Norton 360. You should also inform your local authorities and the ICC, which is the government agency for internet crimes.

Best Free Computer Security programs

  • Ad-Aware = http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php
  • Malware bytes = http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/3000-8022_4-10804572.html
  • Spybot = http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html
  • These three programs together provide great computer security combined with an antivirus program. I also suggest that you run scans after the end of your computer usage for the day, and don’t forget to be safe and smart on the internet you can get robbed there just as easily if not easier than in real life!
    Posted by

    Judith Knutson


    Licensed in IA & IL

     Cell:    563-340-7906

    Email:  Judithknutson@gmail.com


    Thinking of relocating to the quad cities?

    Visit my website: http://www.judithknutson.com

    REMAX River Cities - 4555 Utica Ridge rd, Bettendorf, IA 52722


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    Ron and Alexandra Seigel
    Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
    Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


    What an ordeal you went through.  Glad it is all over for you, and thanks for sharing it with us.  All the best and have a wonderful weekend.

    Jul 09, 2010 04:29 AM #1
    Matt Grohe
    RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
    Serving the metro since 2003

    Judith, I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through that. Hopefully you'll still be able to enjoy yourselves. Best,

    Jul 09, 2010 04:50 PM #2
    Joy Baker
    RE/MAX Insight - Salem, NH
    So NH RE & Short Sale Specialist

    Oh my word...what a mess!  Thanks so much for sharing your story and for the security suggestions.

    Jul 15, 2010 03:50 AM #3
    Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
    Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
    Realty Works Temecula

    Judith:  My husband received this same thing.  We eventually had to e-mail all of his contacts 300+ and tell them it was a hoax.  We abandoned his former e-mail because we could no longer access it.  Fortunately we had all of his contacts in an excel file and were able to create a new account via a different e-mail provider, to notify everyone.   50 at a time, because that is all it would allow!!!

    HE got his hijacked by answering an e-mail to update his account settings.  He thought it was a legitimate request from MSN....So he willingly gave his password to his account!!! 


    Hope yours gets straightened out...I know it is a mess!

    Jul 16, 2010 04:50 AM #4
    Judith Knutson
    REMAX River Cities. Inc - Davenport, IA

    We had to send out a correspondence email about it aswell, to ALL of those contacts it took along time and we forgot to Bcc it so we had more upset people! It was a huge mess, just glad its all done and over with! Definitely have to watch for schemers never respond to your email provider asking you for your email information they simply won't do that it's a scam if they are trying to do so NO EMAIL PROVIDER SHOULD EVER ASK YOU FOR YOUR INFORMATION watch out for that I'm sure that's how it happened in some way or another to myself.

    Just trying to spread awareness of this email problem so maybe someone will do something about it!

    So reblog to spread awareness of this terrible scam!


    Jul 16, 2010 05:08 AM #5
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