Monday, July 12, 2010

What Went Wrong


Life goes on at the fish landing jetty in Kg.Pulau Gajah, Pantai Sabak, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

It was at 6.12 AM today July 9, 2010 when I heard the sound of my phone buzzing indicating an incoming SMS. Being a light sleeper I immediately woke up to check the SMS. It must be something urgent for someone to send such a message at this hour.
True enough there was a message from my Virtual Tourist friend Chia BH. He mentioned about an urgent email he had sent to my Yahoo account.
Though still groggy I powered up my PC and immediately opened my yahoo mail. There were two messages from Chia. The earlier one was the shocker that said my Gmail account had been compromised and it was being used by someone to solicit fund since I was purportedly stranded over seas in Scotland. The second one was to tell me why he had to use my yahoo account as using the Gmail account would only alert the perpetrators that his misdeed has been found.
The next step was to open my Gmail email account. Sure enough, they have changed my password and I was unable to open it and I immediately reported the matter to Google to reset the password.
While doing all that at recovering my account, another SMS came in from Pi Bani telling me about the same thing and alerting me of the scam.
My next step was to access my facebook account. Luckily I had used a different password and it opens up with no problem. It wasn't so with my blog Life As I See It... (LAISI) as I had used the gmail account to access it. What a blow to me as this blog is important to me. Without it I will not be able to reach to the many friends and readers who had been following it.
An attempt to reset the password to the Gmail account also met with failure as I have used an email address that was long dormant, a Hotmail account which I have forgotten the password and with so many changes to Hotmail, it became unfamiliar to me. The access to my Hotmail account was also denied. I guess the perpetrators must have reset the password to that account too.
Oh God, to a non computer savvy people like me, such a problem is a monumental one and the techniques toward recovery are laced with hurdles that are difficult for me to surmount.



Here is the email from Chia,


hi zawi...
i recieve this email this morning (july 9th) of which i know is a spam... please inform all your friends in your address book of the compromise in your gmail address... salam and regards...
~chia
*******

--- On Fri, 7/9/10, Mohamad Zawawi Ahmad <mohdzawi@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Mohamad Zawawi Ahmad
Subject: I need your Help Urgently
To:
Date: Friday, July 9, 2010, 5:31 AM

Hello,

How are you doing?hope all is well with you and family,I am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling to Scotland for a Seminar.

I need a favor from you because I misplaced my wallet where my money,and other valuable things were kept.I hate to ask you for help but I will like you to assist me with a soft loan urgently with the sum of $1,500 US Dollars to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.

I will appreciate whatever you can afford and i'll pay you back as soon as I return, You will help me to send the money through Western union with this details below.

Name: Mohamad Zawawi
Address: 1 William Street, Glasgow, United Kingdom G3 8HT

Kindly get back to me with the transfer details as soon as the transfer is complete. and also get back to me with you account details so i can refund the money immediately I get back home

Your reply will be appreciated. Thanks

Mohamad

I shot back a reply asking Chia to ignore it as I am home in Kelantan.

On facebook I saw a message from Mek Yam in New York.
The one from Mek Yam contains the same appeal.

Mek Yam July 9 at 6:11am
would you happen to be in scotland attending a seminar?

judging from your last status in fb, not likely ya?

but i have to check because i just received this email a few minutes ago, purportedly from you, asking for urgent help. hope you don't mind confirming if the email is indeed from you:

********

Lucky thing Mek Yam was suspicious and not immediately succum to the scam.

Jacqueline Tegju from USA and Rita Ho from Duval, Washington also sent me messages on facebook.
Rita wrote this to me after she had read the messages from the others:

Hi Pak Zawi,

David just advised me to reset my password since I actually chatted with the hacker. You may want to advice all your contacts who received the mail to do the same since it wouldn't hurt and better to be safe than sorry.

I'm sorry this happened to you, not your fault at all and hope everything clears up for you to have your account back soon.

Enjoy the weekend!

Rita

The guy even tried to chat up Rita. Fortunately Rita sensed something was amiss and told the guy that he wasn't really me and the guy stopped the chat.
Other facebook messages came from my friend Shahrir Saadon. Other friends including my ex teacher called to confirm. I guess everybody else with an address in the account received the scam but simply ignore it. As per Rita's advice, please reset your password so as to safeguard yourself from any eventualities. Though Rita sensed it was an amateur job, place take heed as it is better to be safe than sorry.
My attempt to recover the gmail and blogger account is a failure as I could not supply the Google team with the correct information to establish ownership of the accounts. Thus I am compelled to open up a new account for my email with Google. For the blogsite, it will be known as LAISI and the URL is http://zlaisi.blogspot.com.
There will be no new posting at the old blogsite. It will be left to become dormant as an archive since I cant access them or delete them.

Just how did I get into this trouble? It was sheer stupidity on my part as I too fell for this silly scam as per this email. Only difference it it came in my Gmail.

From:
Add sender to Contacts
To:
undisclosed-recipients
GENERATOR
Accounts,Yahoo would shut down all unused Accounts,You will have to confirm your E-mail by fill in your login info below after clicking the reply botton or your Account will be suspended within one week for security reasons.

CONFIRM YOUR IDENTITY. VERIFY YOUR FREE YAHOOACCOUNT NOW !!!


* Username: ...............................

* Password: ................................

* Date of Birth: ............................

* Occupation:................................

* Country of Residence:................................

After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his or her account before two weeks of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

Any fool would have noticed that it was a scam. I was much foolish than a fool and I did submit to te request because once I had problem with my blogger account and I attribute that to my failure to conform to the request.
So please all of you who read this, learn this lesson from me and not respond to the request. It will lead you to the same trouble that I went through resulting in many friends to suffer some form of anxiety.
To all of you concerned friends who were affected, I offer you my humblest apology. It was my fault for being so stupid.

18 comments:

  1. Salam Pak Zawi,
    Saya pernah terima e-mail konon nya dari Yahoo account saperti di-atas.Nasib baik says tidak respond atau reply back.
    Walaubagai mana pun Terima Kasih dan sekarng pun kita banyak terima scam mail Kena lah berhat-hati.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Doug received a similar email asking for financial help from one of his friends several months ago. He alerted his friend because Doug immediately recognized it as a phishing email. So when I read the email I received purportedly from you, I saw it for what it was. I too immediately reset my passwords because I forwarded that phishing email to you at that particular address alerting you to the phishing attempt. I also ran a couple of my anti-malware softwares just to be sure that no malware was accidentally launched when I replied to you!

    Live and learn!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awang,
    Tahniah kerana membuat komen pertama di blog baru saya.
    Saya menulis hal ini untuk mengingati kawan-kawan yang mungkin tak menyangka perkara begini akan berlaku kepada kita.
    Terima kasih

    ReplyDelete
  4. Puteri,
    According to Rita Ho, this was an amateur job so I presume it wasn't a professional hacker job. Anyway we still have to be cautious and I think you did the right thing.
    Bila nak balik ke Malaysia lagi? Kalau balik datang ke KB la makan nasi kerabu sekali lagi.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pak, I received the same email from 'you', but by then you already posted abt this on your FB...late last year i received something similar supposedly from my former customer, 3 days later she send an apology saying that her email was being 'hijacked'....and a few months back my email address was hijacked too...2 types of message send out 1 is just a "hi" and the 2nd one directed a link of viagra website...many friends teased me if i had branch out my home biz he he......teruk betul this ppl kan, menyusahkan orang, but i only need to change the password to the Gmail and the blogspot.....take care Pak...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I knew immediately it wasn't from you because I have been alerted about this scam quite some time ago (ramai yang dah kena). Lagipun, logically, if you're stranded there, surely you'd contact your family first kan?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Pak Zawi trima kasih coz alerted me via email. Appreciatd much. BTW hw ru doing now?
    Luk

    ReplyDelete
  8. Zaitgha,
    We can never keep up with them cos they are constantly working on it. There times of weak moment when we put caution to the wind and fall prey to such ruse.
    Jual viagra ye? hehehehe

    ReplyDelete
  9. Pi Bani,
    You were one of the earliest to alert me. I know they can never fool you. Anyway as a retired person, how could I be attending a seminar overseas? Yeah the first person I will be contacting will be my immediate family. Only if that wont solve my problem, then only will I approach friends. not via email anyway cos a phonecall or SMS will be faster.

    ReplyDelete
  10. mrluk,
    I don't remember alerting you. You are very peculiar. Will you reveal yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Secutity breach? Ingat kan kembar sat nih. Jenuh la nok update link. Tapi security breach in cyberspace ni ado sokmo. Keno pakat dok beringat jah. Dunio ni tak dok hok kekal.

    Ni pon tok tahu bak po, tapi payoh nok scroll sapa bbawoh ni. Mungkin security breach jugok.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mazle,
    Susoh la lo ni sebab ore jahat pandai pada ore baik. Demo tu dok mikir sokmo lagu mana nak buat untung ngan caro nipu,
    Rasonya Mazle ni cedik pada ambo takleh kena tipu la.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hooo ambo ni kalu bab IT buleh la lagi. Tapi mari hok lain gak, keno tipu sokmo, he he...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mazle,
    Nasib la kalu gitu gak.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh how sad this all is! But, thanks to you, I've reset all my passwords and closed accounts I seldom use. So, something good has come of all this.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. We all do things we later regret - it's when we learn from our mistakes that all is not lost!

    I will add your new address to my blogroll :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Pak..first visit to your blog and I like what i see. Will come back Sorry to hear about that hacker. happened to me too..we just have to be careful. salam.

    HH

    ReplyDelete
  17. Pak Zawi,good afternoon. it has been a long long time since I last visited your blog. Busy with work & my children. I hope you and your family are in the best of health.

    Just login my old e-mail address today and noticed the "I need your help urgently" mail which was sent on 9th July 2010.

    I thought you may be in some kind of trouble and when i have gone through the content, the first thing that crossed my mind was, " this is NOT Pak Zawi"..He is a man with dignity and he would never do this.. :)

    Though we have only met once, I have enjoyed talking to you and have admired your wisdom.

    Your determination, enthusiasm, your love for nature and your attitude towards life are good examples for me. Live my life and forget my age was what I learnt from you. :)

    By the way, Pak Zawi, are you able to retrieve all your posts and repost them here?

    All the best and let this be a lesson to all of us.

    Take care.

    mrs. lim :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Abang Zawi,
    Thank goodness your friend was savvy enough to notify you instead of transmitting money to you promptly. This type of hacking and scamming is not unusual. My friends' gmail and hotmail accounts have been used for the same scams and to market everything from viagra to electronic products. Take care.

    ReplyDelete