For the second time this year, I’m a victim of identity theft. A few months ago, someone mocked up an ATM card in California and took every penny out of our checking account as we bounced checks like the Spurs bounce basketballs. (We did get it all back and our bank reversed every charge) .
And now my gmail account has been stolen. From now on, please use email@example.com to contact me.
I briefly mentioned here and went into more detail on Leadership Network’s digital blog that suddenly this past Friday my password no longer worked on my gmail account. This even after using it to read and send emails on Friday Morning. All of a sudden when I went back in, my password no longer worked. When I asked for a new password to be sent to my secondary address, I received nothing.
Today I confirmed that I have, in fact, been hacked. Google makes you wait 5 days until you can get a new password by answering your security question. So today I followed the prompts that led me to my security question and someone had changed both the question and the answer.
I’m locked out.
This search helped me to understand that I’m not the only gmail user this has happened to and also what some of the consequences can be.
I’ve filed a report with Google’s team to investigate my issue so we’ll see what that turns up or if they allow me access back to my account. If my thousands of emails and attachments have been deleted, I don’t know if Goggle will restore my account from Thursday night’s backup.
So here are two big changes I’m making:
- I won’t any longer keep usernames and passwords in my web-based email contacts list. I’ll keep all that in Outlook which I back up nightly and also keep synchronized with my PDA and my USA TODAY laptop.
- I’m running all my email now through Outlook 2007. All my email is forwarded to new hotmail account I’ve started and stays on my host’s server. Then when I fire up Outlook 2007 every evening, it pulls all my email down from my server. In this way, if I ever get hacked again, I’ll have all my emails and everything with them on my laptop hard drive and backed up on my external hard drive.
I was encouraged that the hacker hasn’t used my account in 5 days, but I also realize that might just mean he/she’s gotten everything they needed and has moved on. I also hope that the hacking was just recreational and not with more damaging intent. We’ll see.