My Good Friday
Posted: April 5, 2013
My Good Friday started with the first of many phone calls from friends I don't hear from on a regular basis. After receiving the first two calls, I realized that my Yahoo e-mail account had been hacked.
The message that was sent to my entire contact list stated that I was stranded in Manila, Phillipines, while on a secret business trip, and after losing my wallet and passport while sight seeing, I was in need of $1,900 to settle my hotel bills. Apparently, the message stated that time was of the essence since my plane was about to depart.
When I've received similar types of messages, usually from people I don't know - like some prince of a tiny foreign country or an unknown relative with an Egyptian last name - I delete the message and hope that my computer has not contracted a virus. But this particular e-mail was fairly convincing since there were no obvious misspellings and the amount I was asking for was not too astronomical.
Fortunately, the hackers didn't infect my computer with a virus that was sent to those on my contact list. But the worst part, other than having to spend four hours trying to assess the damage, was that my entire contact list was deleted as well as the roster of messages I've sent over the past two years. In addition, anyone who sent me an e-mail to my yahoo account (firstname.lastname@example.org) was forwarded to a bogus e-mail address with the live.com suffix.
Most of my business contacts via the Internet use the e-mail address listed on the back of The Bottom Line (email@example.com). But my personal e-mail address gets used when I communicate with a particular business on a more regular basis since my Yahoo messages can be retrieved from my cell phone.
As a result of this unfortunate experience, I've created a new personal Yahoo e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. So if you are reading this and have sent something over the past week to my former Yahoo e-mail address, please resend it because it's likely someone else in the Internet universe is looking at your message and wondering if you are inquiring where to send me $1,900.
The only positive to this story is that I heard from a number of friends and relatives who I have not heard from in quite some time. In every case, the callers were genuinely concerned for my well-being and were willing to help me out if there was a problem. Looking back to last Friday, I probably should've determined if those who were concerned about me were still willing to send me $1,900 - even if I wasn't in the Phillipines.