Lessons Learned from Losing $13,103.91 to Hackers

It is hard to admit, and potentially quite embarrassing, after being tricked by attackers who end up stealing a not so insignificant amount of money. It can happen to anyone, even the current richest man on the planet can be successfully hacked. This well written lessons learned story from a Recode data privacy reporter outlines how even the most innocuous activity may be indicative of a much greater threat:

Because I didn’t take a few basic internet security precautions, hackers robbed me of $13,103.91 worth of cash and prizes from three of my accounts over the next six months. And while this doesn’t make me, your Recode data privacy reporter, look very smart, I’m sharing my story with you in the hope that it will help you avoid a similar fate.

The person who hacked my Grubhub account last March ordered a black fungus salad with celery, a five-spice-marinated beef entree, and 12 pork dumplings (with chives) for a total of $26.84. At first, it was annoying but didn’t seem like that big of a deal: I notified Grubhub about the fraudulent charge and got a refund. Then I changed my password, sent an angry text to the phone number on the food order, and went about my life, foolishly thinking that this was an isolated incident. It was not.

Five months later, I logged into my bank account to find a substantially smaller number in my savings account than I expected. Sure enough, $9,000 had been wired away two days previously. During the subsequent, frantic call to my bank, I looked at my checking account and saw that $4,000 had been wired away from there, too — a discovery I declared with a variety of curse words. The woman on the other end of the line had a pleasant Southern drawl, which made her promises that I would get the money back seem extra reassuring.

Being aware of the threat, paying attention to detail, and being cognizant of your online actions can go a long way in preventing a loss like this from occurring.

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