This week we once again use our blog to try to help our community avoid the pitfalls of identity theft. This time, we write from personal experience. A colleague’s email was taken over and caused frustration for us and our network of family, friends and business colleagues. Everyone was getting spammed because this colleague’s email address had been compromised. Here’s what he had to do, and we suggest you do if it happens to you (though we hope it doesn’t!)
• Contact the Network Administrator and explain what happened.
• If your password has been changed, ask them to issue you a different one. This is a temporary password that will allow you to access the account and change your information. When you are able, permanently change both your password and security question for this account. Depending on the severity of the takeover, you may want to consider closing this account entirely and getting a new email account, possibly with another company or on another server. Make sure you inform the people who you want to have your new email address, of the change.
• Contact everybody in your address book. Inform them of the email takeover. Ask if they have received and/or responded to any emails sent from your account during the time of the takeover. If so, get copies of these emails from them. Look to see if the emails asked for anything (Social Security Number, banking information, money to be sent someplace).
Strong passwords are key—make them long and include symbols in addition to letters.
Again, we hope this never happens to you—if it does, now you know what to do.
For more identity theft resources, please visit www.hvshred.com