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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wanted...computer savvy people, I really need help.  I received a note yesterday from Amazon that my account was disabled because someone got a hold of my sign in password and posted it on a public forum.  I got the same note from Facebook.  I don't know what to do.  I closed my Facebook account down and made up a new password for Amazon, but was told it might not be enough to make things safe.

Does anyone know what I should do now?  Amazon recommended I change my system password (I have AOL) but will that change anything?  How can I tell if those people are still inside my computer. I know that sounds funny, but I just don't understand how things like this happen.  

I'm sorry if this isn't the right place to post this appeal for help, but my fellow writers are the only people I know to go to.   :'(

 

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the email didn't happen to have a link in it that you needed to click in order to re-enable your account?

i hope you didn't click it and reveal your passwords.

I get about 8 of those a day from various places. every one of them has been a scam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Nathan,

  No, I knew they were real as I had tried to sign in to those sites earlier and a message also popped up saying essentially the same thing.  But just to be safe, I didn't click on any links and instead went to the sites.  Amazon, I changed but Facebook was getting to be a problem, so I just disabled the account.  I'm just not sure what I should do at this point.  I used that password for almost everything.  I don't do online banking or any of that, so that is a relief at least.
 

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Jeanne,

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I don't know what to tell you to help you, but I can tell you what my husband and I do. We bought an address book and we write each website down with the password so we don't have to remember all of the different ones.

Vicki
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a good idea, Victorine.  I'm not very computer savvy.  I still can't figure out how people can get into your computer.  But I think I'd better not keep my passwords in a computer file anymore.  Thanks for the idea.  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am not getting topic responses from here anymore either starting today.  I've checked my settings and I've asked for them, but for some reason, they have stopped.  Could this be related?  I changed my password here today as well.
 

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The tried-and-true advice is typically make sure your antivirus protection is up-to-date (and buy some, if you don't have antivirus protection), run a full-system scan, make sure it is successful at handling everything that it finds (use safe mode, if necessary), and then change all of your passwords again because any viruses, trojans, etc., would have already logged the new passwords before you removed the malicious programs.  That's what I've typically read about when I've gotten a virus, and it usually works for me.

I'm going to add this last part because of an odd part of your story: I'd be more concerned that somebody you know or who is mad at you might have done this.  Viruses and trojans are typically designed either to wreak havoc or steal information the virus-writer can use to make a profit.  If somebody posted your personal information somewhere on-line, then it sounds like they took an interest in you.  A 16 year-old budding hacker wouldn't likely do that, and there's no pay-out for giving other people your information.

As I said, I have no evidence and could easily be wrong, but I'd think first about whether there's somebody I know who's really mad at me, and I'd make sure my passwords are not easily guessed by others, nor shared with other websites.  If that sounds crazy, then feel free to ignore everything I said, except the first paragraph!  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks so much, Jim.  I will try to get a good virus program. I have the free one right now called Malware Bytes, although it always tells me everything is OK.  I'll run it today and see if it changes its mind about that. :)

I can't imagine anyone being upset with me as I keep mostly to myself so don't come into much contact with people, except through my pet work.  But it could be the psychic thing too.  I can't rule that out as some people just don't agree with what I do.  Maybe someone on Amazon saw my book and took and instant hate to it.  I don't understand why some people go out of their way to make someone else's life harder than it already is.  Just one more reason why I prefer to hang with animals.  LOL
 

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I don't want to make you paranoid; it could be completely random!

The reason I added the other part, though, is that I'm a practicing psychologist, and that's just how the story typically ends when I hear about it in my office.  My clients later find out that it was a former bff, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, or an upset sibling.  They've either shared the password at some point, have it written somewhere that others see it, or others know them well enough to answer the security questions to take over the account.

Strangers can rob us, but the ones we love know how to make it hurt.  :-\

Either way, good luck regaining control over your computer/accounts, and hopefully this whole mess will soon be behind you!
 

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JeanneM said:
Thanks so much, Jim. I will try to get a good virus program. I have the free one right now called Malware Bytes, although it always tells me everything is OK. I'll run it today and see if it changes its mind about that. :)

I can't imagine anyone being upset with me as I keep mostly to myself so don't come into much contact with people, except through my pet work. But it could be the psychic thing too. I can't rule that out as some people just don't agree with what I do. Maybe someone on Amazon saw my book and took and instant hate to it. I don't understand why some people go out of their way to make someone else's life harder than it already is. Just one more reason why I prefer to hang with animals. LOL
Urgh, sorry to hear this happened to you. How frustrating!

I use MalwareBytes, but I don't think it covers everything. I also use a firewall, Avast Antivirus is good (and free!) and CCleaner gets rid of needless cookies (I usually run that every time I come offline).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Ilyria...I get so confused over computer issues.  :)  I'll take a look at Avast.  I've heard that name suggested before so maybe I should give them a try. 

When I become rich, I'm going to hire teeny tiny armed guards to do nothing but sit inside my computer on constant patrol.  ;D
 

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More likely than not, no one got "inside" your computer, but probably just figured out your password. Definitely choose a more secure password this time and don't tell anyone you don't trust! (Use capital and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation, etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Jessica.  I've never told anyone a password. But I admit, mine is pretty simple.  I'll try to make it more complicated this time around.  :)
 

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You may want to try AVG as well. It's also free.

http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage

Kaspersky also has a free download -

http://usa.kaspersky.com/downloads

Both of these are good virus tools.

On your passwords - - - the key to a good password is something that no one can guess that is easy to remember. On top of that you need to make sure you add special characters, such as [email protected]#$%^&*+=~ and numbers. Often people replace the letters E with a 3 and letters I or L with 1. Or letter O with the number 0. Also, switching case is important as well.

Another good idea is to use a phrase and use the first letter from each word. So, let's say your favorite song is The Rain in Spain from My Fair Lady.

"the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain"

This could easily become -

Tr1Sfm0tp!

1 is replaced for the I
S for Spain is capitalized
Zero is replaced for 0
and an exclamation mark at the end for even more randomness.

If that doesn't work -- - misspell a common word that is unique to you....say Kittycat becomes CitttieKat - - - and then add some numbers and special characters at the end that you can remember.

For my work, I have to change all my passwords every 3 months. On a few of the systems the passwords have to be at least 80% different and they can't be reused in the last 5 times.

If you are going to keep your passwords written down anywhere - - then keep them on a piece of paper that you keep locked up somewhere. Keeping them on your computer is not a great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much, Drew!  Great suggestions, all.  I'll check out the programs and work on becoming a bit more savvy with passwords.  So I guess I should dump the file on my computer titled: "My Passwords," right?  LOL  Yes, sad but true.  :-[
 

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Jeanne, I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I'm not computer savvy enough to offer advice on what to do, but I can reccommend the Norton 360 anti-virus protection. I've used it for years and it's always kept me well protected. I think it's around $60 a year, which is $60 more than I'd like to pay but worth every penny.

Sending lots of positive thoughts and good vibes your way!
 

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JeanneM said:
Thanks Ilyria...I get so confused over computer issues. :) I'll take a look at Avast. I've heard that name suggested before so maybe I should give them a try.

When I become rich, I'm going to hire teeny tiny armed guards to do nothing but sit inside my computer on constant patrol. ;D
Haha that would be great! I want some, too ;D

Use this opportunity to change all your passwords and make them as tricky as possible (write them elsewhere!). Computers are so much trouble - remember when it was said using them would result in less paper? I have more paper clutter these days!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Andrew Biss said:
Jeanne, I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I'm not computer savvy enough to offer advice on what to do, but I can reccommend the Norton 360 anti-virus protection. I've used it for years and it's always kept me well protected. I think it's around $60 a year, which is $60 more than I'd like to pay but worth every penny.

Sending lots of positive thoughts and good vibes your way!
Thank you Andrew. My sister bought me the Norton program last year, but like a ninny I took it off my computer. It made my computer run so very slow that it was aggravating. It took forever for me to do anything. I have an old computer, running out of memory, I'm afraid. But I never should have taken it off. I'm putting in my order to the Universe right now...new computer...great virus program. :) I'll let you all know when the Universe answers.
 
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