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Snowflake62
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Problems with email hacking

Hello,

I wonder if someone could help me.  For weeks on end now I have been having problems with a person/people hacking into my email account.  I have changed my password numerous times and thought I had good ones with a mixture of letters and numbers.  However, it has made no difference and at times this can be so embarrassing, when messages get through and end up in friends' inboxes. 

Hope someone has some helpful tips/hints as to how I could resolve this problem without changing my email address altogether, which would be a real hassle for me.

Many thanks.

 

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Wrock
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Re: Problems with email hacking

Hello Snowflake62,

Indeed, we can help.  There are at least 586 Virgin Media accounts affected by this problem since August 2015, a number which continues to grow every week.  You are right to take this problem seriously.  It is a pernicious, outrageous and hugely embarrassing problem, and you should take action.

Let's start by making sure your case is the kind I think it is:

1) Friends and colleagues tell you that they have received short chatty email messages inviting them to click on a link.  The message will appear to have been sent by you and may be signed with your name.

2) In your Virgin Media account, from time to time you receive large numbers of emails letting you know that messages could not be delivered, messages which you did not send.

3) If you check with the people who are receiving the messages or look inside the emails about messages which could not be delivered for the subject lines of these emails, the subjects will be on this list in Table 2, or similar to the subjects in the list, http://wardinewrock.blogspot.com/2015/09/email-sent-under-my-name-not-from-me.html

4) This happens again and again, in waves.

Does this sound like your problem?  If so, you are not alone.  Many people with Virgin Media accounts are suffering this indignity.

-Wrock.

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Wrock
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Re: Problems with email hacking

I'm sorry to hear that my diagnosis is correct but not surprized since there are hundreds of cases of this problem in Virgin Media and TalkTalk email accounts since last summer.

Here is what to expect based on our experience with these cases since August 2015:

The spam will continue to be sent to your correspondents, periodically at irregular intervals.

This is going to have a bad effect on your relationships with people.  First because they will be aware that your email account was hacked and that their email addresses has been stolen from your account and will wonder why that has happened.  And secondly, since the problem will continue, they will become annoyed that you haven't taken action to stop it and decide that you do not know how to protect yourself online.  

So you will continue to suffer as they continue to ask what is happening and why you haven't solved the problem.  Never fear, we have some solutions.

What is going on is that some of the nastier, more capable, spammers who specialize in fraud have been able to steal all of the email addresses from your Virgin Media account.  They have stolen your email address and display name as well as any others they could find anywhere in your account.  The addresses might be years old, belong to people who are no longer alive, no longer function, or be addresses to which you have never even sent mail.  If the address was somewhere in the web mail account, the spammers now have it.  Moreover, they are storing this collection of addresses together with your email address.  They then log into email accounts around the world with other people's user names and password to send spam to addresses collected from your account with your name and email address attached.  This is why your changing your password has not put a dent in the problem.  The spammers are not using your username and password to send the messages.  They have a large collection of stolen usernames and passwords around the world they use instead, and the Virgin Media email servers have nothing in place to protect you from this kind of behavior, called spoofing.

Now the fact that spammers now have and are storing a collection of all of the email addresses from your account should worry you because it means that someone who is a criminal now has a list of all of your personal and professional relationships.  Many people with this problem have email accounts which they have owned for 10 or 15 or 20 years.  There is a great deal of information about you in an email account like that. 

Because we have not been able to determine how the spammers have been able to get into these accounts, we cannot rule out the possibility that they can do so again.  If someone has access to your email account, they may be able to use it to reset passwords for other accounts.

Your first priority should be to open a new free email account at Gmail.  I suggest Gmail because Google accounts have some good protections to protect you against this sort of problem in the future.  Do not use your Virgin Media email address as a recovery address for the new Google account.  Next think about the businesses with which you have financial dealings that might be tied to the old address.  Give all of them your new address so that the spammers could not use your Virgin Media account to gain access to those accounts.  You can take your time but I would not dawdle.

Because you cannot stop this problem, you are going to side-step it with the new account.  Tell your friends about the new address and that you are not going to send more emails from the old address.  They can then add a block, a filter, to delete the emails which continue to arrive and look as if they were sent from your old address.  They can also forward examples of the spam to spam@uce.gov, an address belonging to the United States Federal Trade Commission who have been prosecuting a spam and spoofing and fraud operation just like this since 2015.

I know of several hundred people with this problem, many of whom have tried the "let's just wait and see if it stops" approach to the situation.  It doesn't and in the meantime you are leaving yourself open to the possibility of financial fraud and identity theft.  The intervals between rounds of the spam will be just long enough to lull you into thinking the problem has stopped.  It does not, so skip the procrastinating-about-making-a-new-account step because "it is too much hassle" and go straight to the solution of opening a new address.  It will not be as difficult as you might imagine, and certainly not as difficult or time-consuming as recovering from a case of fraud or identity theft.

Let us know how you get on.  There are many people with this problem who are glad to answer questions.

-Wrock.

 

 

 

 

 


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Wrock
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Message 2 of 6
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Helpful Answer

Re: Problems with email hacking

Hello Snowflake62,

Indeed, we can help.  There are at least 586 Virgin Media accounts affected by this problem since August 2015, a number which continues to grow every week.  You are right to take this problem seriously.  It is a pernicious, outrageous and hugely embarrassing problem, and you should take action.

Let's start by making sure your case is the kind I think it is:

1) Friends and colleagues tell you that they have received short chatty email messages inviting them to click on a link.  The message will appear to have been sent by you and may be signed with your name.

2) In your Virgin Media account, from time to time you receive large numbers of emails letting you know that messages could not be delivered, messages which you did not send.

3) If you check with the people who are receiving the messages or look inside the emails about messages which could not be delivered for the subject lines of these emails, the subjects will be on this list in Table 2, or similar to the subjects in the list, http://wardinewrock.blogspot.com/2015/09/email-sent-under-my-name-not-from-me.html

4) This happens again and again, in waves.

Does this sound like your problem?  If so, you are not alone.  Many people with Virgin Media accounts are suffering this indignity.

-Wrock.

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Snowflake62
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Re: Problems with email hacking

Hello Wrock,

Yes, that is exactly what is happening to me, you are spot on.  I can honestly say I am at my wit's end now Smiley Sad

Thanks for replying

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Wrock
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Message 4 of 6
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Re: Problems with email hacking

I'm sorry to hear that my diagnosis is correct but not surprized since there are hundreds of cases of this problem in Virgin Media and TalkTalk email accounts since last summer.

Here is what to expect based on our experience with these cases since August 2015:

The spam will continue to be sent to your correspondents, periodically at irregular intervals.

This is going to have a bad effect on your relationships with people.  First because they will be aware that your email account was hacked and that their email addresses has been stolen from your account and will wonder why that has happened.  And secondly, since the problem will continue, they will become annoyed that you haven't taken action to stop it and decide that you do not know how to protect yourself online.  

So you will continue to suffer as they continue to ask what is happening and why you haven't solved the problem.  Never fear, we have some solutions.

What is going on is that some of the nastier, more capable, spammers who specialize in fraud have been able to steal all of the email addresses from your Virgin Media account.  They have stolen your email address and display name as well as any others they could find anywhere in your account.  The addresses might be years old, belong to people who are no longer alive, no longer function, or be addresses to which you have never even sent mail.  If the address was somewhere in the web mail account, the spammers now have it.  Moreover, they are storing this collection of addresses together with your email address.  They then log into email accounts around the world with other people's user names and password to send spam to addresses collected from your account with your name and email address attached.  This is why your changing your password has not put a dent in the problem.  The spammers are not using your username and password to send the messages.  They have a large collection of stolen usernames and passwords around the world they use instead, and the Virgin Media email servers have nothing in place to protect you from this kind of behavior, called spoofing.

Now the fact that spammers now have and are storing a collection of all of the email addresses from your account should worry you because it means that someone who is a criminal now has a list of all of your personal and professional relationships.  Many people with this problem have email accounts which they have owned for 10 or 15 or 20 years.  There is a great deal of information about you in an email account like that. 

Because we have not been able to determine how the spammers have been able to get into these accounts, we cannot rule out the possibility that they can do so again.  If someone has access to your email account, they may be able to use it to reset passwords for other accounts.

Your first priority should be to open a new free email account at Gmail.  I suggest Gmail because Google accounts have some good protections to protect you against this sort of problem in the future.  Do not use your Virgin Media email address as a recovery address for the new Google account.  Next think about the businesses with which you have financial dealings that might be tied to the old address.  Give all of them your new address so that the spammers could not use your Virgin Media account to gain access to those accounts.  You can take your time but I would not dawdle.

Because you cannot stop this problem, you are going to side-step it with the new account.  Tell your friends about the new address and that you are not going to send more emails from the old address.  They can then add a block, a filter, to delete the emails which continue to arrive and look as if they were sent from your old address.  They can also forward examples of the spam to spam@uce.gov, an address belonging to the United States Federal Trade Commission who have been prosecuting a spam and spoofing and fraud operation just like this since 2015.

I know of several hundred people with this problem, many of whom have tried the "let's just wait and see if it stops" approach to the situation.  It doesn't and in the meantime you are leaving yourself open to the possibility of financial fraud and identity theft.  The intervals between rounds of the spam will be just long enough to lull you into thinking the problem has stopped.  It does not, so skip the procrastinating-about-making-a-new-account step because "it is too much hassle" and go straight to the solution of opening a new address.  It will not be as difficult as you might imagine, and certainly not as difficult or time-consuming as recovering from a case of fraud or identity theft.

Let us know how you get on.  There are many people with this problem who are glad to answer questions.

-Wrock.

 

 

 

 

 

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Snowflake62
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Re: Problems with email hacking

Hello again Wrock,

Thanks for your reply.  I am very worried now, as I had thought there would be a solution to this.  I have a feeling I already have a Gmail account but would have given my current email address as the recovery address, so that is not an option Smiley Sad  Could I use my Apple email instead?

Snowflake62

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Wrock
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Re: Problems with email hacking

Yes, you could certainly use your Apple email!

And being worried about this is a healthy state of affairs until you get a few things underway.

-Wrock.

 

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