Ring ring ring..
"Karl, my gosh what happened to you man?"
"Charlie?! It's 4 in the morning!!!! You gotta stop this!"
The call from your Ottawa friend of many years did not surprise you. Ever since your move to the big city Toronto, Charlie has found many ways to contact you, tweets, IMs, and also by the soon to be obsolete phone.
"Karl, Toronto has changed you!! Why are you selling prescription drugs?"
"Huh? WHAT?? Charlie what's wrong with you?"
"Karl, you keep sending us mail from your hotmail account about cheap prescription drugs. Jose thought we should do an intervention. "
"But Charlie, I am not selling anything. I have no idea why you are getting email from me... I"
"Karl, you need to STOP the insanity and move back to Ottawa!"
"Is this Jose?", you reply getting more and more anxious.
"Yes, I am here as well as all your friends who have received your disturbing email. Please come home."
Your heart races and you wonder, "Did someone steal my Hotmail account?"
Your internet account, like email, can be hijacked for a variety of reasons. In any case, the best thing to do is to change your password immediately.
Below are some scenarios on how your account information could be stolen:
1. You log on to your account from a public computer or mobile device without logging out and clearing your activity from the computer. The next time you go to an Apple store and check out your email or facebook account on the shiny iPad, make sure you remove traces of your username and password.
2. You have been Phished! At some point, you logged on to a fake website that looks like your internet account and you supplied the fake website with your username and password.
3. Malware (virus, spyware) is on your computer. It is logging on to your account through the userid and password stored on your computer. Therefore, you need to change your password for your internet account on an UNAFFECTED computer. You will also need to do a scan of your computer and remove the offending program.