How an email hacker ruined my life and then tried to sell it back to me
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 16/10/2011 23:30
Rowenna Davis tells how her identity was held hostage by an email hacker who wanted £500 to let her back into her account - and explains how it felt worse than daylight robbery
A hacker has been occupying my email account for the past week. And he or she may still be there. A disembodied intruder, this person has been stalking my inbox, replying to messages, signing off with my nickname and refusing to let me in. They have been going through my personal history and making judgments about my character. In the weirdest twist, the hacker even started writing to me. If it wasn't so unsettling, it could be the plot of a black postmodern comedy.
It started when my phone went crazy in the middle of a crucial meeting. Some 5,000 contacts received an email from my account saying that I'd been held up at gunpoint in Madrid. My internet-savvy friends sent texts to say I'd been hacked, while my elderly, migrant and more vulnerable friends wanted to know where to send the cash. According to the story, my mobile phone and credit cards had been taken and I was badly in need of money. There was a number to call to reach me at my hotel - presumably chargeable - and a Western Union account had been set up in my name to wire a transfer.