If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hackable Me

The news came in successive dings and rumbles from my cell phone early that fateful morning.  I awakened from a restful sleep and stumbled to my dresser to silence the beastly device, only to find messages from my nephew, my sister, and five friends: “Your email account has been hacked.”
This had never happened to me. I staggered into my office to find my cyberworld turned upside down.  Apparently, everyone in my contacts had received a note from me saying that I was traveling in Spain when someone robbed me. I’d lost my passport and all my money. The American embassy was helping me but I needed $1500 dollars so I could safely return home.
My first impulse was to send out a retracting email to my contacts—but that wasn’t possible. The hacker had erased ALL of them. I was able to reset my password so that the hacker couldn’t re-enter the account.  I posted an announcement on Facebook and tried to contact Yahoo about remedying the situation.   It took about a hundred attempts, but Yahoo finally suspended the account.
And then the calls started. My cousin in Philadelphia that I hadn’t heard from in five years was prepared to send the check. Thank God he called first. Two friends from work phoned to make sure I hadn’t taken an unexpected trip to Spain and a writer colleague who’s a former judge phoned “just to be sure” I was okay.
The call from my high school boyfriend really took me by surprise. He tracked down my phone number and was “relieved” to hear I wasn’t stranded overseas. I hated the inconvenience to everyone, but it was nice that they were concerned. I eventually got my contacts restored and converted to a g-mail account.
Only to have the old account hacked again. This time, I was visiting the Philippines with my family. “Everything was going on fine until last night when we got attacked by some unknown gunmen. All our money, phones and credit cards was stolen away including some valuable items, It was a terrible experience but the good thing is they didn't hurt anyone or made away with our passports…. Right now we're financially strapped due to the unexpected robbery attack, All i need is $2,650.00 USD or anything you can afford.. .” The jerks even used my signature line to make it more authentic.
Luckily, I’d backed up all my contacts so I sent a retracting email immediately. My friends found it funny that I’d been hacked again. My writer friends threatened to call the grammar police because of sentence construction issues in the message. I was just … seriously ticked.
Who are these hackers? They create elaborate stories. Are they mystery/suspense writers who have FINALLY found a way to make their craft pay? Maybe the MWA should add an award for the “most creative and convincing hacking job.”
I want them caught. I want them punished, and I wouldn’t mind that it be painful. Fortunately, I have just the way to make that happen because I write murder mysteries. DEATH OF A HACKER may be a future title in my Caleb Knowles series.
Have you ever been hacked?  Would you use this kind of experience in crafting your stories?


James Montgomery Jackson said...

I have been fortunate to not have been hacked. I have, apparently, been declared a spammer by Hotmail. When I sent out invitations to my book launch party, everyone with a hotmail account only found the message after looking in spam. Annoying, but not as bad as being hacked.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

My Twitter account has been hacked repeatedly--to the point where I don't go there much anymore. Changing my password helps, but since it happens regularly, I'm not into Twitter much. I wonder about their security.

Having your address book disappear would be awful! Since I set up classes for the Guppies and do interviews with authors here on WWK, my address book is extensive.

Sorry you had to go through this experience. My feeling is that changing your passwords on a regular basis is a must. It also is a hassle.

Gloria Alden said...

I haven't been hacked and hope I never will be. It would be a horrible experience.

My sister-in-law was talking about an elderly couple, who came into their bank and wanted $1500.00 to send to their grandson, who was in jail in Mexico. The teller tried to talk them out of it and even had the local police come and also try to tell them it was a scam. They wouldn't be dissuaded and took out the money to send to him. We asked my sister-in-law what she would do if someone pretending to be her grandson called for money. She said she'd ask him questions that only her grandson would know the answers to. I think most scammers target older people, but maybe that's just the ones we hear about being tricked.

Warren Bull said...

I haven't been hacked, fortunately. I've heard the horror stories about it.

Kara Cerise said...

I haven’t been hacked yet but it’s only a matter of time. I printed my contact lists from email accounts, Facebook etc. just in case.

A close friend died a few years ago and her email account was hacked not long after she died. Sadly, her family and friends received repeated emails sent from her address with a link to probably a fake website. I was shocked the first time I saw one in my inbox, then really angry.

I wouldn't use this experience in a story but it's a possible motive for the murder of a hacker.

Alyx Morgan said...

Like Jim, the worst that's happened to me so far is Yahoo thinking I'm a spammer. I think that's because it was hacked, but to a much lesser extent than what you've described.

I'm sorry that you've had this happen twice. I think I've gotten those emails, but they were from people who aren't close friends, so I would never expect them to ask me for money. That was my first clue that it was a spam email.

It's unfortunate that people seem to fall for these. Yes, I agree that these kinds of scam artists often target the elderly, but more often, I think the hackers just try to hack any account they can. I doubt they're that choosy . . . at least at first.