Experience with ID theft

To the Editor:

Law enforcement officials have urged me to share my own experience with hacking.

Two months ago I received an “urgent” phone call informing me that “International Security Protocol” had determined my laptop was being used for criminal activity. I asked the caller to identify himself. He responded with something about having been hired by, “security experts from your computer company,” to follow up with me. This was urgent, remember, and why would he bother calling if he were making this up? I should see for myself! Just go turn on my laptop, if it weren’t already connected to the Internet, and he’d show me what he was talking about.

When I repeated my request for identification, and he again did not give it (in a long-winded answer), I said he could well be the hacker himself. I hung up.

I wish I could say that was the end of it. It was not. Two weeks ago I received an identical call, only this time I was not alert -- until nearly too late. “We tried telling you about this but you hung up on us, just connect to the Internet and we’ll show you!” I hate to admit this: I did. Several instructions later, all sorts of warnings flashed in a box on my laptop, confirming all the dates he’d listed. “See, I told you! Now just -- .”

Thank God my smoke alarm went off. Not once, but three times. Each time, I hung up. Each time, the guy called back.

There’s more to the story, but suffice it to say I disconnected the computer before he could (apparently) get what he was after. Still, all financial accounts have had to be cancelled or frozen, passwords changed and other precautions taken.

When I reported the incident, I learned that such hacking networks are completely untraceable, well beyond the reach of any law, and tend to target women. Also, unfortunately, that there are many, many victims right here in the North Country whose bank accounts, etc. have already been totally wiped out. I hope sharing my story will prevent it happening to you.

Kris Hardman


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