It feels like being burgled. Some time on Thursday night someone hacked into my internet account and sent a message to all of my contacts, saying that I was stranded in Madrid and that I need 1500 euros to get home. Although it wasn’t well written, it sounded plausible because I’ve been in Madrid twice recently, visiting my daughter, and it was signed Doug, rather than Douglas.
The first I knew of it was on Friday morning when I looked on Facebook and one of my contacts had sent me a message warning I’d been hacked. I didn’t think it was a big problem until I checked my e-mails. I had about four hundred saved for various reasons and they were all gone. The hackers had also stolen my entire contacts list.
My daughter Nikki showed me the e-mail she’d got and I felt sick to think that everyone I’d ever had contact with on the internet had been sent something like that. The frightening thing was that they seemed to know that I’d spent time in Spain recently because Nikki had been working there. God only knows what they’ll do with all the information from the e-mails I’ve sent and received.
If I’d had my contacts list I could have sent out a warning, but I wasn’t able to even do that. I immediately went on Facebook where I have about six hundred friends on my personal and author pages and warned everybody, then did the same on Twitter.
It was only this morning (Saturday) that I discovered that a friend of my mum’s had been taken in by the e-mail. Worse, the hackers had come back to her and asked for more money to help pay a hotel bill. It just makes you incredibly sick to think that these cyber vultures are able to prey on someone’s basic instinct to help a friend in need. I only hope that she’s the only one.
My account is with BT, but to be honest they didn’t seem interested in the fact that I’d been hacked, which is pretty outrageous. I spent about three hours on the phone to a young Indian guy trying to get the account working again and he was very good. But you’d think that if phone hacking is so prolific they’d have some sort of provision made to protect their customers. Surely they should have some kind of emergency hotline where you can report it and get an instant response.