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WARNING of people hacking into your email account

(13 Posts)
Sbagran Sat 10-Dec-11 14:25:48

Last evening I checked my emails as usual (I am on hotmail) - I had a message from 'allegedly' from a friend (who is on my safe contact list) and who often sends me odds and ends but it wouldn't open so I just deleted it and got on with life! (turned out it wasn't from her - they had got her contacts list too.)

During the evening I received a text from my son saying I had just sent him an email and he thought it was a scam so check my security. I knew I had NOT sent him any email and wasn't even on hotmail at that time. I immediately went into hotmail and changed my password. On checking my 'sent' box - which I had emptied earlier I discovered that 'I' had sent 172 messages!

Obviously someone had hacked into my email and sent these junk messages to everyone on my contacts list.

These emails are entitled in the subject line - short words such as 'incredible' 'wow' 'hey' 'get this' and the like.

I have checked with the experts at PC World this morning as to be honest I am a total numpty where these things are concerned. They have reassured me that these do not appear to contain any virus but that someone had obviously got hold of my email address and it was simply mischief - but very annoying mischief angry

GNtech - you have probably received one allegedly from me - but I assure it is NOT from me. PC World have advised that the only way to be totally free of it is to change my email address - but at the very least change my password which I had already done.

Girls - if you receive any email with silly titles like these even from a trusted sender BEWARE and check your 'sent' box as you may find 'you' have sent them on to all your contacts. Change your password immediately!

GNTech - Advise us all please ! Do you think it is really necessary to change email address????
I will do if it is the best to do but it is an awful nuisance and makes me so angry !!! angry angry angry

Carol Sat 10-Dec-11 14:45:19

Sbagran* this happened to my DIL, who found she had sent a lot of emails to professional bodies and friends and family. She was advised by a tech that she hadn't necessarily been hacked into, but that something had latched on to her computer when it had arrived via an email attachment she would have opened from a known person. She simply upgraded her security and the problem disappeared.

Annobel Sat 10-Dec-11 15:13:29

This has happened to several friends of mine, all of whom use hotmail. I received huge numbers of emails ostensibly from them, all advertising some product or service in Canada. Their contacts had been hacked into. I think they managed to contact hotmail administrators.

Elegran Sat 10-Dec-11 15:54:27

DD has had this just recently. emails appeared as though from her with vague hints that by clicking on this link you would find something amazing. She changed her password but had to also change it on the server - thinks it is OK now.

At this time of year they are hungry for passwords to people's accounts.

crimson Sat 10-Dec-11 16:22:36

Going slightly of tangent here, but, I'm very loathe to buy things on the internet, which is costing me in the long term. What do I do to make my computer safe? I'm terrified of anyone getting my bank details [I won't do internet banking etc].

silverfoxygran Sat 10-Dec-11 16:55:16

Someone hacked into my email account and sent emails to everyone in my address book asking them to buy a new computer from the attached link.

I just changed my password, which was pretty simple, into something much more secure. I now have numbers and letters running through it and haven't had any further problems.

I received an email from a cousin telling me she was being held hostage in a hotel in Ghana would I send her some money - NO! For a start the standard of English left a lot to be desired and I knew there was no way she was abroad... but having sid that a lot of people do fall foul of these scams. shock

Carol Sat 10-Dec-11 17:34:24

Just been speaking to my nephew, who is a computer technician, and he assures me that many of these incidents aren't examples of hacking but pointers to the need for security being updated/upgraded to prevent phishing emails managing to bring viruses etc into your computer system. Also he says while we would never open attachments from people we don't know, sometimes these things are attached to emails from people we do know, whose computer systems have been corrupted by viruses. He says many people use free security programmes from the internet but they have to be frequently updated to keep new malware out.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Sat 10-Dec-11 20:49:23 email from you but thanks for the warning. Not necessary to change email address but def worth changing password. So much of this about this week. Clearly some mischievous elves at work

Sbagran Sat 10-Dec-11 21:26:12

Thanks CariGN and to all the lovely gnetters for your advice and support as I really hate this sort of thing. I am always so careful about opening 'unknown' emails and have really complicated passwords etc. (and change them regularly) but no one is immune from idiots are they!
I think Santa can't be working his elves hard enough as they obviously have time on their hands !!! grin

MrsJamJam Sun 11-Dec-11 12:04:43

crimson I have the free microsoft security software on my computer and this seems to work well.

If you do online shopping, just make sure that you use trusted sites like amazon, john lewis, m and s etc and that when you get to the screen that is asking for your credit card details you check the Http line at the top of the screen and it begins https. that means its secure. When you live as far away from any shops as we do, internet shopping is a huge help and nothing to be frightened of if one is sensible (as i'm sure you are smile)

crimson Sun 11-Dec-11 13:45:14

Thanks Mrs JJ.

Stansgran Sun 11-Dec-11 14:41:42

It's worth checking that there is a picture of a little padlock when dealing with on line payments. Also I keep a credit card simply for use on line and with a limited amount available which can be increased if necessary. i've just opened an Electron account with a card-really for people denied credit but you can't spend any more than is on it. I use it for cheap flights where the credit card charge can be unreasonable. It only takes a phone call once I have the cost of the flights on screen.

Sbagran Mon 12-Dec-11 19:06:40

As I started this thread and have now (I believe) sorted out what happened I thought I would update Gnetters and re-issue the warning!

I fell foul of this stupid prank last Friday evening. It appears that if you recognise it in your Inbox but DO NOT OPEN IT there is no harm done.

IF YOU DO OPEN IT - it seems that it attaches and sends itself to all the email addresses on your contact list which is how I got it from a 'trusted' sender.

Unfortunately, as I knew 'the sender' and she often sends me 'social' emails I innocently tried to open it - and so it then went on to everyone on my contacts list. I subsequently found out that she had NOT emailed me that evening and it had been sent to me from her contacts list without her knowledge.

The blessing is that it does not appear to cause anything other than mischief - my laptop has been checked by my friendly experts at PC World and also has been scanned by my Norton security with no viruses found.

I have been told to advise everyone on my contacts list - and I am passing this advice on to you Gnetters - that .......


If you have tried to open such a message PLEASE check your 'Sent' messages and see if your contacts have been hit.

It is also advisable, if you tried to open the offending email to change your password.

I did that immediately and all seems to be well. I change my password regularly anyway but goodness knows hows how these things happen.

Just a warning ladies - the more people who know about this stupid prank the better! It makes me so mad
angry angry angry as we all have better things to do than faff about with pranks at this time of year don't we !!!