Unless you are a drug rep, you shouldn’t be emailing your friends to advertise Viagra.  Data breaches and identity theft are becoming more and more of a problem every day.  If you read Part 1, you now know what steps to take to avoid identity theft and reduce the damage done in the event that you become a victim of a data breach.  You should be safe in the future, but what if you have already been a victim?  How can you be sure?  Do your friends a favor and try to get to the bottom of the situation.

  1. Your friends and contacts start receiving emails from you advertising Viagra from Canadian Pharmacies – If the ad is also sponsored by a site that has an AMAZING PICTURE THAT YOU HAVE TO SEE TO BELIEVE!!!!! and that gives away FREE IPADS!!! you know that you’re in trouble.
  2. You can no longer access your email – Your password has been changed, but not by you.  This also applies to Facebook, YouTube, and any number of other sites.
  3. You get a phone call from your bank saying that they believe your account information has been stolen.  If you are unlucky, you’ll be the one who notices first.
  4. You are turned down for a loan when you thought you had good credit – Check annualcreditreport.com for possible discrepancies.
  5. You are listed in the database at shouldichangemypassword.com Check this site often, or sign up for free notifications.

All joking aside, identity theft is a serious matter.  I am often asked by clients to help them regain access to their email after having had their account stolen, and it is no easy task.  Sometimes regaining access is downright impossible (Yes, I’m looking at you Hotmail).  I also often have to advise clients to close their bank accounts after certain virus infections (the lucky ones) and remove viruses for others who have had their accounts closed by their bank (the unlucky ones).

Now that you know how to tell if you’ve been hacked, what should you do about it?  Watch for next week’s email Have You Been Hacked? Part 3.  In the meantime though, I’d change my passwords and watch my bank statements if I were you.