And Jack the Ripper is not at my door.
Any of you folks who have me on your email list - or more accurately are on MY email list of contacts via hotmail - may have noted a plaintive cry for help late last week. From London, no less. Where apparently I have been taken by Jack the Ripper into a hovel and robbed of all my money. And the American embassy doesn't believe me and the hotel is mad at me and if you don't send me $2000 or some such amount I am going to be boiled in oil at the drop of a hat. It is a bald lie and I am in no way connected to such a wild story.
I have, however, been one of thousands of people who had their hotmail accounts hacked into last week. I can't get back into it because my password has been changed, and I can't get a new password sent to me because the "alternate email" they can contact me at has also been changed. So the account is gone and is now part of a vast network of spam originations sent out to thousands of unsuspecting contacts on every victim's list.
I've had that hotmail account since the years began with 1's. And I basically used it as the contact off the blog (where a lot of you found it) but also as the email addy I had to add onto commercial sites I needed to use and just KNEW it would generate millions of spams sent my way. For those who only have that hotmail addy as the contact info for me you should change it to ehwtfever (at) comcast (dot) net. And, yes, the wtf in the addy means what you think it means.
There were only a handful of old accounts that were still tied to that email account and, luckily because the addy was only stolen for the purposes of spam, none of them were compromised. So I had the opportunity to change all the entry codes to such places as the world-wide bunch of anarchists I play with and so forth.
I have no idea if any pleas for money like that ever work. Anyone who knew me enough to care about whether or not I was in actual trouble who didn't recognize it as bullshit would have just picked up the phone and called me. And everyone else recognizes stuff like that as bullshit. So however these people make money off of that is beyond me. But I suppose it's lucrative enough so that they keep on doing it. I guess if it wasn't they wouldn't bother. But that doesn't mean I can possibly understand how it could be.
Needless to say MSN, which operates hotmail, is perfectly useless in helping account holders fix the problem. The boards where incidents like this are reported is overwhelmed, and the "24 hour guarantee" they will address your problem has been waived. In the meantime they send you to links that tell you how to avoid the problem if it happens again, as well as a how-to for resetting your password. What the links don't tell you is what to do when you can't get back into your account to reset everything. They try to verify that you are the account holder and ask for your alternate email addy. But they don't tell you what to do if the hacker has changed your alternate email addy so that you no longer seem to know what the hell you're talking about. Then they want to know "Did This Help? Yes or No." Hahahaha.
My incident report has been sitting on their board unanswered for days now. And I see where other folks have said "WTF?? It's been two weeks! I need this for my JOOOOOBBBB!!!" Etc.
The weird thing, though, is that I got this hotmail account so very long ago that my alternate email address that I used when I signed up is from a provider that no longer even exists! So what good would that do me anyway?
All of which is proof, I suppose, that I have been connected to the inter-tubes for too long and need to get some fresh air.
They say Whitechapel is a good place for a walk...