Have you ever had one of your accounts hijacked? Like someone gets hold of your bank account number and steals your money? Or maybe someone took over your Netflix or Hulu account? If so, then you can commiserate with my experience in these matters. If not, count your blessings and keep your passwords strong.

First off, I recall the time my bank account was pilfered. At the time, I had an account with Wells Fargo. I originally opened that account because my boss at the time banked there, as well. I could deposit my check and be available that day, since the teller could verify funds immediately. Basically I cashed the check, then deposited the cash. Real simple. I don’t have that account anymore, but that’s a different tale.

This particular day, I was buying something at the store. My card was declined. It shouldn’t have, because I had money in it. I went on Wells Fargo’s app, and my account balance read “$0.00”. I had to look multiple times and updated the page, just to check. Sure enough, zero dollars. I looked at the transaction history, and there was a charge for some $230 (my balance at the time) at a truck stop somewhere in New Mexico. I immediately drove to the bank to report the fraud. I hadn’t been anywhere near New Mexico since the 1980s, and never to the city where the charge was made. I was immediately refunded the money, and their investigation indeed turned up that the transaction was fraudulent. Someone was out $230, and I’m happy it ended up not being me. I now have an account at a credit union, and it’s a better experience for me.

On another occasion, I was checking my email, and one popped up (similar to the ones in the image above) saying that the email associated with my Netflix account had been changed. I couldn’t log in to Netflix. I went online and chatted with someone at Netflix. I gave them my name and email, and matched the number of the card that they charged every month. I got my account back. I went online to see the streaming history, and someone had managed to login to my account from somewhere in Colombia. At first, I read it as “Colorado”, but then I saw Colombia. I don’t know how someone in South America got into my account, but I shut them off in a hurry and changed my password to something with a couple of symbols to throw a would-be intruder off.

At one point, our neighbor asked to use our Wi-Fi, since they didn’t have one. We let them for a bit, but eventually, our Wi-Fi got really slow. I noticed they had several devices connected. I got fed up with it all and changed my password. I also thought that, if they decided to do some illegal shit online, any law enforcement would follow back to my Wi-Fi, then I’d be screwed over it. They begged to use our network, mainly so they didn’t have to pay for their own. Eventually, they had to get their own wireless network. Now, when I look at the devices connected to my network, I can identify all of them.

Today’s quote is this:

“The Internet opens up so many doors. It’s a phenomenal tool for education but also a way for people to be scary and dangerous. We’re living in a world where we can be hacked and exposed.”

Christian Slater

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