Carolyn’s Online Magazine
HACKED! MY PARALLEL SELF VISITS TURKEY
NOTE: The WordPress prompt for December 3, 2015, is Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit.
There are several places I’d like to visit besides the New England coast from Newport to the Main/Canadian border—Sweden and Singapore if I didn’t have to fly. The same with Jordan and Egypt if they ever become peaceful. I have friends and relatives in these countries, and would be treated royally.
There is, however, one place I never considered visiting: Turkey. Istanbul, to be exact.
Yet that’s exactly where this wanderer‘s parallel being (I’ll call her Nylorac) apparently visited—which makes me question if she is truly my parallel being. Regardless, Nylorac’s venture into Turkey proved to be disastrous, as some of you read in one of her 9 pleading e-mails sent out on December 9, 2015, between 11:38-11:52 a. m.
- How are you doing? i need an urgent Favour from you, let me know if you can help me out. Awaiting for your positive response. Carolyn
Those of you who gracefully responded received the following reply:
- Appreciate your kind response. Am currently out of Country to Istanbul, Turkey on a training program but having a little problem here. I tried to make withdrawals from about 5 different Machines but all to no avail and after visiting the banks here i was told it was due to network errors. I am stranded here without no money, and have to come back cos my birthday is tomorrow so i was wondering if i could get a quick loan of $2,350 USD from you or any amount you can afford if not all. I promise to refund it back immediately i get back home.
Thanks, Fran, for sending me copies of Nylorac’s e-mails and noting you would have known if (I) were out of the country, that the e-mail address was different…
While all this Internet activity happened I was enjoying a relaxing morning in nearby Ligonier, Pennsylvania. I breakfasted at the Diamond Café, reading my newspaper and conversing with other patrons. I took pictures of Ligonier’s Christmas decorations and stopped at the grocery store before returning home about 1:00 p. m.
My husband Monte was on the telephone. As the afternoon faded into the evening the phone calls arrived nonstop. Nylorac had created quite a whirlwind of communication as inquiries as to my traveling arrived from Florida, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama, Georgia… Conversations were often interrupted by bleeps from another incoming call.
I explained to callers our e-mail was hacked. Everyone on our one Yahoo address list received an e-mail saying i need an urgent Favour from you… Those who responded received the second e-mail.
We immediately changed the passwords to our e-mail accounts and suggested to all who contacted me to do the same. I also asked them to inform me if they received the same hacking. I’ve heard from no one, and as far as I know, no one sent phishing money to this hacker.
I quickly posted the following on Facebook:
DO NOT OPEN
Any e-mail from
With the subject line
Impromptu Trip Help Needed……..(Carolyn Holland)
IF YOU HAVE OPENED IT
CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY
WATCH TO SEE IF YOUR E-MAIL CONTACTS
ARE RECEIVING THIS NOTICE FROM YOUR E-MAIL
If they are, notify them of the situation and what to do.
December 10th was my birthday. Monte woke with an unexplained pain and was given a late-morning doctor’s appointment in Latrobe. We stopped at the Diamond Café on the way, where the owner, Judy, presented me with a slice of cake for my breakfast dessert. Yummy.
When we returned home the phone calls continued. Monte called Yahoo. They blocked the e-mail address the hackers were using—ours is a Yahoo address, the hackers used an outlook address. Astute readers caught that difference, while others were so taken aback by Nylorac’s need they missed that detail (I would have missed it, too).
In spite of the hassle of changing e-mail passwords and spending so much time on the telephone when I needed to do Christmas preparations, there was an upside to the hacking.
I received a phone call just yesterday—6 days after the initial hacking—from one acquaintance and one local friend. Both were checking with me about Nylorac’s misadventures, ascertaining any details. One had immediate access to $1,500, while the other was brainstorming where to get some funds.
At least half a dozen friends and family members told me they were doing the same.
The biggest upside was learning how many caring people are in my life, people willing to step in and help me in my need. People who would even go into debt in order to be there for me.
A parallel upside was talking with people I talk to very rarely, knowing they are still on my radar.
Other upsides are finding out how many people
- know that I wouldn’t leave the country unless they were informed
- rcognize my writing abilities—that I would never have sent out such a poorly written e-mail. Really now, would I send something written like this: I am stranded here without no money, and have to come back cos my birthday is tomorrow so i was wondering if i could get a quick loan of $2,350 USD.
- how many people are sufficiently astute to question the e-mail address
- equally “up” is the backhanded knowledge from some persons who didn’t contact me, people who are sufficiently informed about hacking, and recognized that the e-mail was a phishing expedition for money. They likely deleted it, and perhaps changed their password.
A few persons expected I should fear the hackers. I guess I’m too naive to fear them. Anyone using the Internet is vulnerable to being hacked. It can happen at any time, with any request. I expected to be hacked at some time, and wonder that it didn’t happen sooner.
My concern is that the phishers have my e-mail contact list. I’ll move as many of my contacts to an alternative e-mail as soon as possible.
I determined the hackers of my e-mail were amateurs. They knew nothing about me, or that e-mail would have been written with more skill. They were simply phishing. I consider the issue almost done.
Except for two things. My regular e-mails are going into my trash bin, and my organization e-mails are going into my spam box. Monte will have to deal with that soon.
If you are hacked act quickly to make certain there are no long reaching tentacles. Don’t let the hackers win by making you fearful.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but until an expert informs me otherwise I’m going to continue my life, which, at this time is preparing for Christmas. I hope my parallel self settles down for a while and won’t add stress to this already stressful holiday marathon.