Change your passwords now!

Change your passwords now!

Well, we think the worst is over (we hope).
Here’s what we think happened- Somehow some Nigerian scammer (we know where he is ‘cos I tracked him to an IP address in Nigeria) got hold of Jackie’s gmail password. He (or she- bastards come in both genders) sent an email to everyone in Jackie’s contacts saying that she was stranded in Spain having been mugged and needed money. He then deleted all her contacts and set up forwarding so that all replies were forwarded to him and immediately deleted from Jackie’s gmail.
The result of this is that, although we realized very quickly what was going on (I got one of the emails, being, obviously, one of Jackie’s contacts), we couldn’t send an email to everyone saying to ignore it as it was a scam as all the contacts had been deleted; including, unfortunately, all of them from Jackie’s phone- one disadvantage of having a Google phone, as soon as it synced with her gmail it wiped them all out! We also couldn’t see any of the replies as they were deleted as soon as they were forwarded so they never made it to Jackie’s inbox- we realized this as one did make it to her phone (the phone must have synced at the same split second as the email arrived), but by that point we were already off to Crispy’s back to school night.
Thanks God I had jumped on and changed her password as soon as we realized what was happening. And thanks also that this particular scammer had not gone all the way and changed the secondary security questions and email address etc. otherwise he could have just gone right back in and changed it and locked me out. As soon as we got back from the Middle School I went in and removed his forwarding and checked all the other settings, but for those couple of hours we were out who knows who emailed Jackie- I truly hope no one was taken in by the scam and tried to send money! From the one email that did get through we saw that he was trying to get people to send money via Western Union to an address in Madrid.
Anyhow, the moral is- 
Change your passwords regularly!!!
Don’t use the same password for everything!!! We’ve all done it, you sign up for a mailing list or into some website that uses your email address as your username, and you just use the same password as you use for that email as it’s easy to remember that way- but guess what- you’ve just given them the keys to the kingdom!
And if you use gmail (especially if you have a google phone) back up your email and contacts regularly!!!
If this happens to you, here is a very informative message thread about all the settings you need to check in gmail to make sure they can’t get back in once you’ve changed the password.

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