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Tech Tip
by Brad Appleby
Appleby Arts

My E-Mail Got Hacked!

I am sure you have received an e-mail from a friend or family member that has a subject like, "Sad Trip...Please Help!" The e-mail looks like it is from the actual person, and that is because that person's e-mail was hacked and the hacker sent e-mails to everyone on the contact list.
The usual story contained in the e-mail goes something like this: "I was traveling in [fill in the blank] and my money and passport were stolen. I need you to help me with a loan to get home and I promise to pay you back. You are my last resort and hope." If you get this type of e-mail, the first thing to do is call the actual person. They will probably say, "I know my e-mail account was hacked."

So, here is how it happens. Most people log in to their Facebook, Twitter or e-mail account and keep it open all day. This is not a good practice because the connection is open for a long time, giving hackers plenty of time to get access to the account. The first thing they do is change your account password so you can't access your own account. Next, they send a poorly written e-mail to all the contacts in your address book. Then they delete all of the contacts in your address book so you can't send everyone an e-mail to warn them it is a scam.

If you look at the e-mail address, it will be your correct address. But look closely at the "reply to" address. In a recent e-mail I received from, the "reply to" address was Can you see the difference? The hacker created a new AOL account and changed the letter "o" to the number "0."

So, don't stay logged on to your accounts for a long time. Change your passwords regularly and use unusual passwords like "uU^$0fq![}hecP." Never use the same password on all of your accounts. The hackers will try your hacked password on all major websites to see if they can get access to your other accounts.

To learn more about this and other Tech Tip articles, contact Brad at (702) 294-1392 or

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