Identity Stolen

October 15, 2007 at 11:37 am | Posted in All, Australia, Internet scams, Pensiveness/Rants, Phishing | 8 Comments

UPDATE: I have regained my account after a few email exchanges with yahoo. Thanks to Raquel of Palabok for posting how she regained hers. I saved time researching. πŸ™‚

I got phished and my yahoo ID was stolen last Thursday (11-Oct) afternoon though I didn’t realise this until the next morning when I got to work and logged on to yahoo messenger.

This is what transpired.

WTG, a friend here in Melbourne said hi on YM and asked for the time. I told her the time straight away but then asked why was she asking. I asked if she was out of the country but she replied she was in the house but the time in her pc does not seem right. She even said “Gets?”. I thought it was strange for her to say that but I didn’t really think about it much. I know her to be a nice person. She then gave me a link to Yahoo Photos/Flickr saying she wanted to share some new photos with me. Without suspecting a thing, I clicked on to it and have been taken to Flickr site. I logged on but nothing happened. Just then she said, wait -brb and then logged off. I was then logged off too. But since our network is having problems recently, I would be logged on and off intermittently. I didn’t bother to log on again as it was almost home time.

So while I was on my way home, the phisher was already getting hold of my contacts without me knowing it and without them realising it was not me they were talking to. I don’t usually log on to YM when I’m home. Posing as me, the phisher contacted my niece and asked for Globe prepaid cards and send the codes to me. My niece was a bit reluctant at first but apparently I was very insistent and that I would share with her whatever profit I would make on the cards. When asked for her bank account number, she even gave it right away. She didn’t have any suspicions at all. She went on to buy the prepaid cards and later sent all the codes via YM. Lucky that she only had Php7k in her bank or she would have spent more.

I felt so bad about this because I could have stopped it if I only read my text messages on time. I’m still not perfectly well (read my previous post) that I get tired quickly and have to go to bed early. I left my phone in my bag lying around the lounge room. Shane who was watching tv in the lounge room, heard my message tone but didn’t want to wake me up. Half an hour later, another message came in and this time Shane took the phone to me thinking it might be important. I was still half-asleep when I read the message. It was from my niece saying “nasend ko na, 70 ka tag Php100”. I thought she sent the message to me by mistake as it didn’t make sense. I didn’t know there was a previous message so I went back to sleep.

Friday came and I couldn’t log on to YM. I get an invalid password message. I asked Shane (he is in another location) if he has problems with his YM but he didn’t. I was starting to get suspicious. I proceeded to reset my password but my infos wouldn’t match. Couldn’t do anything about it now. I instead use my other yahoo id. Then I logged on to Friendster. There I saw WTG’s bulletin informing everyone not to reply to messages from her yahoo id as it was hacked. Upon reading this, my body froze and I had goosebumps all over me. I remembered my niece’s text message and called her right away. She was surprised when I asked her about it. I denied ever asking prepaid cards from her and her voice went weak as we both realised that she had been scammed.

I logged on to YM with my other id to inform Shane of what happened. A few moments later Shane was contacted (via YM) by a friend from Manila asking for me and wanting to talk to me urgently. She told Shane she bought prepaid cards worth Php5k for me and have sent the codes and will be getting more later in the day. Holy cow, she had fallen for it too. I called her to confirm everything and to advise to call her bank right away if she too has given away her bank account. And she did too. Trusting it was me.

I then frantically text messaged everyone in my phone list to warn them but unfortunately I didn’t have RF’s number so she too was victimised using my yahoo id.

Php12k has been wasted to the scammer. I know I am not legally in debt with my niece and my friend. It was not my fault that they fell for the scam. I have no problem with my niece but my friend was asking me how can she recover her money. She said it happened in her effort to help me. Out of sympathy, I said I’ll give her her money back. But Shane wouldn’t let me.

Now I have a moral dilemma. Should I feel guilty and give the money back? Is it my moral obligation? What if not giving back the money would cost our friendship?

I would appreciate your thoughts.

8 Comments »

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  1. Sorry to hear that the scammer got your niece and ex-workmate. On whether to pay back your friend, how bout a compromise and pay just half of it? In my opinion, either of you shouldn’t bear the brunt of paying for this unfortunate incident alone.

  2. Sorry to hear about what happened to you. My father almost fell a victim to a bogus job in New York last year–imagine earning a whooping US$14,000 a month?!

    I forwarded the job notice, which I got from the our HR department. It turned out to be a bogus after an officer noticed that the email format of the supposed UN office doesn’t comply with our standards. Dad was already contacted by the scammers and was asked to deposit PhP100,000 training fee to a bank in China. It was a tough game convincing him but I got to stop him before he fell for it but only after a long and sensitive effort of convincing him.

    I believe that most people have been warned about this (phishing, etc.) well enough these days including the dangers of online transactions even more of transmitting bank details online???

    I think I might have to agree to Raquel that this incident isn’t your fault. I can relate to your intent, as a sign of good faith, to recover your friend’s loss but to pay for the whole lot is simply like paying a speeding fine when you’re really doing a 60kph on a 70kph road. got my point? Your friend should be grateful that you have the intent to help, her others might just be straightforward and blame her for falling for it.

    Hopefully this will be a lesson to all–think before clicking that mouse.

  3. Hi guys,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have discussed this with Shane and he is OK with the half-half share of the load. I will talk to my friend about this. Hopefully, we will come to an agreement and settle the matter soonest.

  4. Oh, that’s… awful. Yikes.

    But glad to hear you’ve figured out the best resolution that you can live with.

  5. Oh, I’ve already commented on this entry… Huh, guess you must be busy these days. I myself just returned to blogging recently.

    Anyway, just blog hopping and saying hello. Take care.

  6. What happened to your blog? It seems so… abandoned?

    Anyway, hope you’re okay… and belated Happy New Year and Valentine’s Day. πŸ™‚

    Yeah, I’m going to continue to spam this same entry everytime I want to leave a message. HAHAHA… expect one on Easter.

  7. I got victimized by the same scam, me thinking that a friend was online and we were just chatting. Fortunately, my friend called me up before ever sending anything… the unfortunate victim was my uncle who fell for the scam and sent about P5k worth of Globe card… Same frantic texting of everyone I knew just to make sure they don’t fall for the same scam. It was also fortunate that my friends knew me enough to know that I wouldn’t go around asking for Globe cards since I wouldn’t even be using them.
    The effort that you spend trying to get back all the contacts you’ve spent years building just because of a very simple mistake is very tiring and I really hated it. It’s like you built yourself a reputation, and because of doing something so mundane you wouldn’t even think twice about, you had to go through a lot of trouble to rebuild everything again.
    If only these scammers would grow a conscience, don’t you think?

  8. Hi dphoenix,

    thank you for spending time and commenting on my blog. it’s sad to think that people would use technologial advancements in a very negative fashion. i just hope this same technology they abuse, would bite them back BIGTIME someday.


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