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Fred931's avatar

Have you ever had your e-mail account disturbed like this?

Asked by Fred931 (9399 points ) February 11th, 2011

I came home and tried to log into Gmail as usual, but it then sent me through the account verification process. I sent a code to my phone number, punched it in, made a new password, and signed in. It looks like some person or robot found a way into my account and tried to spam 10 people in my contacts, but Gmail deflected all of them and sent replies to myself saying that “delivery failed permanently” to each recipient.

That was fucking scary.

Now that I’ve been forced to change the password, I think I’ll do the same for some of my other things.

Anyone else have horror stories like this they wish to share?

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7 Answers

geeky_mama's avatar

Similar experience with my bank account online, sadly.

I have a very common last name, and was one of the first to join my (large US institution) bank’s online banking program when it started oh..I don’t know, well over 8 years ago. So, my user name was my first initial and (very very common) last name.

Apparently, someone else who likely has a similar name—but perhaps has a number at the end of their user name (e.g. if mine were jsmith, they might’ve been jsmith9) tried logging in several times..and it caused me to be locked out of MY user name.

To say I was pissed is putting it mildly. I found out, half-way round the world, when I attempted to log on to pay my Visa bill while on a work trip in the UK and was told that: “Too many attempts to log in to your account with your account name have occurred. Please go to your local branch to reset your account.”

Not an option for me – and when I called their helpline (at my expense, because I couldn’t use an 800 number from London) they were unable to help.
Luckily my husband could still get into our accounts with HIS user name and password – -so he just did the online banking (paid our visa bill, transferred funds for me) in the meantime.

I think I wrote a nasty letter to the bank’s IT department about how some other user’s failure to remember THEIR user name should not have inconvenienced me.

coffeenut's avatar

That happened to me once….I just changed my password and sent a “delete last email from me” email…lol I don’t really consider it a horror story though…

I hear Gmail and Yahoo are easy to hack

Fred931's avatar

@coffeenut Then I wonder how bad Hotmail or AOL are. 0.o

geeky_mama's avatar

Oh.. and speaking of gmail.. this wasn’t a hack, but it was funny/worrisome.

My gmail is my (again somewhat common name) last name.first name @ gmail

A few years ago I received an e-ticket for someone with the same name (like an emailed boarding pass)—but figured out that the person was first name. last name @ gmail.

It gets better. I emailed her and said: Hey, I got your boarding pass. I’ll delete this email and go on my merry way. She emailed thanks and acknowledged she’d reversed the name order (confusing her work email for personal) on gmail and thanked me for sending it back to her.

Last year I got email intended for the SAME person ..she had once again provided someone with the wrong ordered name with her gmail account..but this time I got top secret documents! It turns out she is a Lieutenant in the Air Force and is stationed at the same base as my cousin (Charleston, SC).

She sent me listings of names and addresses in an XLS and a bunch of other documents that I, a civilian should NEVER have seen.

I emailed her back and said: “Whoa! I’ve just gotten these two emails, please let your correspondents know they have the wrong email address..I shouldn’t be able to see this stuff!” She emailed back huffily that it “wasn’t THAT top secret” ...but it had my cousin’s name, rank and ID info in it!!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I read about this a couple of days ago. It’s supposed to be an extra security measure

TexasDude's avatar

This happened in one of my old email accounts.

Spam messages about buying generic medications (including generic penis-enlargement pills) were sent out to all of my contacts, including my state senators.

Ironically, my grandmother actually opened one of the emails, and wound up finding a non-scam place to get my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s medication for much cheaper. I guess it was partially a blessing in disguise.

Fred931's avatar

@aprilsimnel Yup. I mean, when I punched in my phone number, I got the verification call from Google in less than 5 seconds. That was almost as scary as finding out that my account had been broken into.

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