Identity Theft SUCKS

Well, Nathan and I have learned a big lesson this week. Password protect your stuff when you're using a remote desktop.

I'm here in Ohio, visiting my family. Yesterday morning I got a call from my bank asking me if I had recently used my credit card to through PayPal to buy something worth $1700 that morning. Shocked, I said 'No, I'm out of town and I haven't used that PayPal account in months.' Then they told me that someone had also used it to buy something worth $1400 before that. All of it using my PayPal account. So the first thing we thought is that someone had hacked that PayPal account, which I couldn't understand because I hadn't used it in months. So then Wells Fargo told me they were canceling that card and sending me a new one.

So then I got on the phone with PayPal and put in a report to them that the charges were fraudulent and we needed to suspend that account. (All of this was going on while I was driving around with my mom, not in front of the computer.) So I was freaking out, hoping that this person wasn't sitting there buying stuff as I was talking to the account people, trying to get it fixed. At this point, we still had no idea how they had gotten my information -- my credit card wasn't stolen, it was sitting in my wallet.

So then I got back to my parents' house and got on the computer to check this stuff out. I found an email from eBay notifying me that I had won several auctions, all of which I had never seen before. So it was then obvious that this person had access to my eBay account as well as my PayPal account. I couldn't figure out how this was happening, so I wanted to check my own computer at home.

So before I had left to come to Ohio, Nathan had set up a remote desktop access thing so that I could connect to my computer at home from my parents' computer in Ohio. So I logged on to my computer at home, and immediately got kicked off. So I logged on again and got kicked off a second time. I thought that was really weird, so I logged on a third time, and this time I stayed on. So then I started using my internet from my computer at home, looking up my bank account information, eBay account, and PayPal account. Then I had an impression to check the internet history for some reason. So I did, and realized that this person had hacked into the remote desktop connection and was using my computer from somewhere in France.

I immediately called Nathan to get the connection shut down so that they wouldn't have access anymore, and started assessing the situation. So they got onto my computer, opened my internet connection, and since my passwords had been saved in Firefox, they were able to log in to my eBay account, and start bidding on things, paying with my PayPal account, which had the password saved.

So I went through and cleared my saved passwords on my Mac, reset all of my passwords, and checked to make sure that they hadn't accessed anything else.

Talk about a nightmare.

I'm just glad that my bank called to check on these charges, as I would not have noticed it as fast as they made me aware. Thankful for that today. Thankful that it wasn't worse. Thankful that we figured out exactly what the problem was and were able to fix it.

What's funny is that this type of thing is what Nathan does for his job! :) It was just one of those things that we didn't password protect it because he was trying to make it easier for me to connect. We learned a great lesson. :)


Shalae said...

Oh man Laurel! That really does stink. I'm so sorry this happened to you and so glad you were able to figure it out! Plus hearing your story makes me even more aware of ways people can get in. Hopefully you won't find anything more happening with it!

Shelley said...

Wow Laurel - this is so crazy! I'm glad you got it figured out as quickly as you did. This really made me think - I don't even know if I'd be in a very good situation if I had something like that set up - it's so hard to keep track of everything that needs usernames and passwords on the internet nowdays!

Keen Ween said...

I'm so sorry. Keep me posted on what happens.

Jessica said...

wow, I have never heard of that happening before. i am glad you got it all worked out. Have fun on the rest of your trip