Well, I got some rather upsetting, extremely irritating and relatively embarrassing news today...someone hacked into my email account, changed my password and sent emails to everyone I have ever known basically. They sent an email (in rather incorrect English) stating that I was in London and needed to have 1,000 pounds sent to me as someone had stolen all my valuables. Hopefully no one I know actually believes this.
So, why is this upsetting...someone has access to all my emails, basically from the day I set up my account in high school, until today (yes I am that lazy and I have NEVER cleaned out my email inbox in 10 years). And they have access to the email addresses of everyone I have ever corresponded with via email. I hope I didn't have anything extremely important in there like bank account information or anything. There is nothing recent, of that I am sure. But who knows what is in there from back in high school or college. And if I ever regain access to my email account, my emails even still be there?
Why is this irritating? Because I don't know if I will regain access to my email account. Because I have all my copies of the stuff I need for my upcoming wedding in the US in that email account. Because I don't know exactly what information is contained in the nearly 900 emails that are in my inbox. Because I don't know if my emails will still be there if I can get my account back. Because this just wasted a large part of my evening and has prevented me from getting a number of things accomplished that I had planned to do tonight. And really, the list goes on and on. I am very angry that this has happened and that I can't access my email and I really hate that I don't know if I ever will be able to again.
Why is this embarrassing? Because included in my address book was my boss, a number of my students, some of my old high school teachers, people I have not spoken to since high school, my family, colleagues, etc. And as far as I can tell, they have all received this fake email (except my parents, somehow they did not receive it). And I am horribly embarrassed and not at all looking forward to explaining this one. And if they sent the email out to people I have received emails from as well but who were not in my address book then that includes every potential employer I have sent a resume to in the past 7 months. A long list of people I can never apply to again....
So, what am I doing about it? Well, everything I can do when I don't have my email contact list and I don't have other ways to reach a number of the people. I have posted it on my facebook page and spoken to some friends and family to reassure them that I am in fact OK and to let them know I will keep them updated on the situation. I have also sent in an ID validation form to microsoft in hopes that I can provide enough information to confirm that I am in fact the true owner of the account so that they can send me (to an old school email address) a link to regain access to my account. And then I have to hope that all my emails have not been deleted. However, to fill out the form and prove your identity as the account owner you had to provide information such as the answer to your secret question and your alternative email address. Unfortunately, I set up my hotmail account in high school and I have no idea what I may have put as an answer to the secret question nor do I know what I may have put as an alternative email address since this was actually my first email address. I also had to tell them the IP address from which I most often access the account, information on different folders in the account, contacts in my address book, subjects of recent emails, etc. Let's hope this other information is enough for them to believe me, otherwise I am screwed and my email is gone. I explained in the comment section that I could not remember the answer to the question or the alternative email and why, and I can only hope that will be enough!
Needless to say I am quite unhappy and stressed right now, but I am still hoping it will all work out for the best. And thanks to everyone who tried to warn me that my email may have been hacked and for testing out their investigative skills! I appreciate it! And sorry to those of you who received the fake email. Don't worry, I am fine and I am not in London with no money. Let's face it, I never really was a fan of that city and I'm not likely to go back. Here's hoping for better news tomorrow!