Change your passwords for all of your internet accounts as often as possible. A good practice is every 30 or 45 days, and with at least 8 characters mixed with upper and lowercase and numerals.
The reason I state this is because there has been word lately that people are easily logging into others email account and sending out email scams from their personal email. I just now happened to experience it first hand.
I received an email from a friend of mine that looked like this:
How are you today and i hope you read this message ASAP. Please, I don’t want you to take this as a JOKE or see it as a kind of SPAM mail. I want you to read this carefully because it is very urgent and important. So kindly try your possible best to help me out of this trouble.
I am presently abroad on a personal business trip to Lagos. Unfortunately, I lost both my wallet & my ATM cards. Right now, I’m totally stranded and have no Funds on me, I have notified my bank about the missing cards and also requires them to transfer me some money from my account if possible but unfortunately my bank couldn´t do any wire transfer to me since I’m out of states. I’ve also visited the US Embassy to report the issue of my lost items and to seek for a loan to pay the hotel bills but unfortunately there’s nothing they too could do to assist me financially, I’m totally confused about that, as I don’t know what to do next. So i decided to take this step by reaching out to you by email.
Can you please do me a favor? I need a loan worth of $1250 so that I could pay the hotel bills and plan on coming back home immediately. Would you be able to loan me this amount and how soon can you send it to me, because I’ll need it as soon as possible. I don’t want you to be worried on when you will be getting your money back, I promise to pay you as soon as I return. Please know that I need this money to pay the hotel bills so that I could be allowed to pack my luggage and leave to board a flight home without any delay, thank God i already have a return ticket.
I didn’t travel with my phone since my trip was not within the states, I would have prefer discussing this on phone, and since I have no access to phone I think contacting you by email is the best and the only means I could use to send you this urgent mail. The hotel management here are not taking it likely with me, just because I couldn’t paid up my bills. I have been restricted from using the hotel phone to make or receive calls, just imagine that.
Write back to me as soon as you receive this message and let me know how you could possibly assist me with the loan, then I could give you further details on how to send the money to me via western union money transfer.
Please keep this confidentially, as I wouldn’t want this to be spread around since no one knows about the trip because all my plans was that its going to be a successful one and I will be back with no difficulties.
The email actually looked authentic since it came directly from his Gmail account. Well, at the same time that I received that email from him, I noticed he was also online on Gmail Chat (Google Talk). So, I decided to IM him in a joking matter asking him how the weather was in Lagos, knowing that somehow I got spam from him and knowing that he would not know what I was talking about since I knew he would not send it intentionally. Well, “he” responded back asking if I could really help “him”. I decided to go right along with “him” thinking “he” was joking and asked “him” if “he” could make change for a $5000 bill. “He” replied back stating that it was not a joke.
I then decided to call him. I got him on the phone and found that he was not actually chatting with me, and, shockingly, he could not log into his Gmail account to change his password, he had been locked out.
I let him go so he could fix this problem.
I state this story to you so that you will know that anyone is vulnerable. In this case, somehow, someone had logged into my friends email account and was sending out an email scam.
Change your passwords, and often.