Who says life isn’t exciting? It’s always an adventure!
So yesterday started out just like any other Monday. I got up, made coffee, took Julia to school, and headed to the gym. When I got home I had really high hopes of doing some writing for a couple of hours. I was psyched and ready to write, so I showered and got dressed like I usually do (I’m one of those people who can’t get anything done unless my hair is dried and I’m wearing makeup. Don’t judge.).
And then the phone rang.
And rang. And rang some more.
People were calling to tell me that my email had been hacked.
Oh yes indeed, it had been hacked alright.
Unless you’d believe that my husband and I took a quick trip to London (as soon as the Superbowl was over) and were being ROBBED AT GUNPOINT (as soon as we got off the plane) and that the robber took all of our money and credit cards and that we needed exactly $2,250 to get the entire family home from England. The letter explained to all of our contacts that they had better hurry to send the money because of "the situation of things right now." (All of this, of course, happening in one tragically eventful day.)
What kind of evil person sits around thinking up stuff like this? Seriously!
There’s just so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin.
First of all, my husband’s name was spelled wrong. His name is common. It’s not easy to misspell. So that should have been the first clue.
Second, have you checked airfares lately?? Believe me, it’ll take a whole lot more than $2,250 to get a family of five home from England.
And for that matter, have you ever been to Heathrow? You can’t even get out of the shopping area for less than that! It truly is a shopper’s paradise in there--the most exclusive kind of mall because you have to have an actual plane ticket off the island to even get in there.
But I digress . . .
Third, robbed at gunpoint? In England? They have laws, my friends. And their laws don’t include guns. In fact, their laws EXCLUDE the use of guns for pretty much everyone, including the police.
After a quick glance at the email that went out under my husband’s phony signature, I called our internet provider to get this whole mess sorted out. Let’s not go into the gory details here because there just may be a couple of people overseas who are crying in their soup today over some possibly harsh words I may or may not have said to them whilst asking to talk to their supervisor because MY EMAIL HAS BEEN HACKED AND I MUST CORRECT THIS SITUATION RIGHT NOW!!
Finally, after about an hour, talking to two or twenty different people named “Cindy” and “Paul” (such perky names . . . so completely fake . . . you aren’t fooling me AT&T!) I got through to a new level of security that even I didn’t know existed. And it was here that my nightmare turned Freddy Kreuger-ish.
You don’t know nightmare until you’ve got a security expert from AT&T on the other line saying things like, “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is so strange. I really think you should call the police.”
(*Insert Psycho chopping noise here.*)
Here’s the weird part . . . the hacker was on my account at the same time AT&T was trying to fix it. They would give me a secure password to get into my account and within a minute, the hacker would change it.
Freaky? Um, yeah!
After a couple of hours of dealing with AT&T security we finally got the “issue” (that seems like such a subdued word for what I was dealing with) resolved.
We now have the ability to send emails, which would be great if we had any email addresses. You see, our contacts were erased. Our emails were erased. Our saved email files were erased, including all the pictures that people have sent me over the years.
I told B this morning that I not only felt like I had been robbed, I kind of felt like our house had burned down because there is so much that cannot be recovered. Obviously it would have been much, much worse if our house had burned down, and I’m thankful it was just a computer issue, but still . . . it feels like a violation.
Sure, it’s frustrating, but there is a silver lining to all this . . . all the people who have reached out to us over the past 24 hours. Phone calls (close to 100), emails (tons), and people reaching out to us on Facebook. It has been amazing to see. Humbling, really.
From the many, many people at church who were concerned about us to the mom of a friend of Kate’s from kindergarten who said she could offer $100 to help. God bless her! (It reminded me of the scene from “It’s A Wonderful Life” where the people were staging a run on the Building and Loan and the little old woman stepped up to the counter and said, “I could use $17.50.” So sweet.)
But the best were the two friends who called to say, “I know you. You’re a writer. There’s no way you would have sent a letter like that—your letter would have been grammatically correct.”
At least I came through all this with my reputation still intact!