Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Warning - my AOL account was hacked while I was in Puerto Rico

Last week I was in Puerto Rico and stayed in a Hyatt hotel outside the capital city. There I accessed my personal account on the computer and now I realize that some hacker was able to access my password. This morning while at work in the USA, I was promptly alerted by a very old friend of mine who had seen a letter sent to him asking for some $3100. The hacker used my email address and said that I got mugged while visiting Turkey with my family and that I needed money to return.

I have never been to Turkey. It is a scam. In the past I have received similar letters in the name of some of my own acquaintances. In the first of such letters, I was visibly concerned about the sad condition of a friend - Mr. Baki. I was almost about to send him the required money via Western Union until a wise friend of mine asked me to call Mr. Baki's home and mobile numbers. I did that and found that it was all a scam. He was not stranded or mugged in the UK.

These scammers have the means to hack computers when insecure servers are used in hotels and/or free internet accesses are used to log in. I was foolish not to realize that my use of computer in Puerto Rico could be compromised in security. Please, don't fall for such scammers/hackers.

I have reset my password since then and my account is active. During a search of my system use, I noticed that last Tuesday my account was used by hackers in Nigeria. A friend of mine - Zafar Naim - even ended up speaking with a hacker who sought money under my name. He could promptly recognize that it was not my voice.

These scammers would do anything to rob people. Their scheme is however weak and flawed. These days, one does not need a ticket to fly out in a aeroplane. With the e-ticket system widely used everywhere, one can just mention the name and present some identity to get the ticket printed at the counter and then fly out. When registering in a hotel, the hotel front desk collects the relevant info on credit card charges, and one need not pay in cash to check out. And still these Nigerian and other scammers try to fool gullible people with their criminal and stupid schemes!

I am doing fine and don't need any help.

Habib Siddiqui

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