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I'm not a technical person. To prove it my computer was at the computer hospital for 5 days with the black plague...."oh no, not the black plague." But Dr. Chris, how could this have happened?? Did I download anything recently? Well, yes. Norton did their usual check and said there were 16 drivers that needed repair or replaced. They suggested  XYZ Company. So I bought XYZ software for $35 and downloaded it following the wizard instructions. After it was downloaded, it went to work and fixed all 16 drivers.

But my problems actually began when my hotmail email account disappeared for 2 full weeks.... Poof! Gone! All my contacts, bill paying information gone. Fortunately, I have another email account, but I had recently just started using it and not all my contacts were in it yet. I started notifying everyone that I pay bills on line with and changed my email address. I did pretty good...I only missed one. But to contact all my friends in both Ohio and Arizona, I had no idea how I was going to do that.

To make matters worse I got a call from one of the banks that I had a credit card at. They asked me if I was in possession of my credit card and if I was traveling. This was about 1/2 hour after placing a fabric order.  I asked very meekly why all the questions. Someone had just tried to make a large purchase in Europe using my account number. Gulp! I assured the lady that it wasn't me, that I had the credit card in hand, and had just made a purchase at an online fabric shop and that was all. She said sorry she would have to close my account immediately. She wasn't joking; while talking to her I got on line and couldn't access my own account. Great. Two days later I got a new card and statement showing my old balance. Darn and I thought maybe I wouldn't have to pay for that card! hahaha

Funny, but right after that my hotmail email showed up again. Hmmmm. There were 187 emails to go thru. Took 3 weeks to clean out that hotmail account. I just have family photos, then I'm done. Bye, bye hotmail!!!!

During this time I've had 2 notices from Facebook that someone hacked into my Facebook account, changed my password and settings. What is going on here?  Identity Theft!!! In the second letter Facebook advised me to call them. So I did and they walked me thru getting back into my account, reset the password, and other measures to safeguard my Facebook account. I feel better, but definately compromised.

Soon after that happened I received a call from another bank where I have a credit card. Yep the same story.

I'm a parish ministry assistant when I lived in Arizona. I had the assistant to the Treasurer of the state of Arizona come and talk to members of our congregation about identity theft. I also had an attorney who dealt with identity theft talk to our LWML (ladies mission league). I do all the things that they advised. I shred everything with my address on. I don't carry unnecessary credit cards with me. I'm careful about people standing too close to me when I'm handling a transaction.

So how did this all happen to me??? I don't know, but I feel it all started when my hotmail account suddenly disappeared in thin air. I believe hackers got it and all my information out of the hotmail account. My advise to you is DO NOT keep all your passwords, account numbers, personal information in your email account or on your computer as far as that goes. Hackers are smart and they can find anything on your computer. Don't be a victim of identity theft.

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Comment by Irene Gallway on February 14, 2013 at 8:59am

It's a scary world we live in and there is no way we can fully protect ourselves from this. And yes, I agree it's going to ger worse. I'm glad your getting things straighted out.  But it's a pain in the neck and can be very costly to the victim.

Comment by Linda Koller on February 14, 2013 at 4:06am

Linda, my computer guy said something like that. The company that I downloaded the driver program from was recommended by Norton. My computer guy checked them out  thru his sources and even called them and he said that they checked out. But a Trojan Horse could come thru on just about anything you  download even a temporary download.

Comment by linda harriott/UK on February 14, 2013 at 2:12am

Could it be that your Norton was not really Norton when you paid for the things to be fixed.Yesterday our Antivir was compromised and only because I am married to someone  with a bit of techie experience I did not use the link they gave me to pay an expert.Hubby has uploaded a different antivirus and on googling found that Trojan Horse viruses are being linked to the real things.

Comment by Terry F on February 13, 2013 at 4:21pm

This is so scary, and it happens way too often!

Comment by J.S. on February 13, 2013 at 11:01am

Thanks, Linda.  I just went through my folders in my e-mail and wrote down all my information.  We just had a charge on our credit card for $400 to a utility company in Seattle, Washington.  We live in Kansas!  I caught it a couple of hours after they charged it, but what a pain to deal with. 

Comment by AidaCJ/NH on February 13, 2013 at 9:16am

So unfortunate, isn't it.  The very conveniences that are rammed up our throat are also the same ones that compromise our security and well-being. 

Thank goodness you got things settled.

Comment by Pam/NY on February 13, 2013 at 6:37am

It will get worse...when hackers can sit in parking lots and scan numbers from purses and registers. But yet, businesses will require all bills be paid on line soon. Post offices will be closing left and right...it all gets pushed to the internet.

Comment by Linda Koller on February 13, 2013 at 4:14am

You think you are doing everything right to protect yourself. I did everything the attorney and assistant to the state of Arizona said to do to protect myself and look what happened. You just aren't safe anywhere anymore regardless how well you think you are protecting yourself.

BJ - In answer to why people do these things? Greed. Simple as that...Greed.

Comment by B J Elder/WA on February 12, 2013 at 9:16pm

Oh my -- how frustrating and awful.  I just don't understand why people do these things. Glad you are on top of it and getting it all cleared up.

Comment by June Johnson/Wi on February 12, 2013 at 6:42pm

Wow!  Unbelievable!  My sis and her husband had their credit card number stolen and used in Europe for $5000; thank goodness they don't have to pay that bill.  Several people in our little village had their numbers stolen and sold and used for heaven only knows for how much.  Some of the people were hunting in Montana; couldn't use the stolen cards.  Luckily, someone in the group had a enough cash to get all of them home.  What a world we live in!

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