Sorry for the lack of posts last week! I started shooting the big project I’ve been hinting at for months on Monday (it went sooooo well and I cannot wait to share it with you!). Also, I dealt with a very unfortunate personal emergency on Thursday. I wasn’t going to share/talk about it on here. However, if my story can help prevent this from happening to one other person than that will be the silver lining to this whole ordeal.
On Thursday my computer was hacked.
All of my files, photos and emails were compromised. Also, my identity was stolen and a huge sum of money was wired out of my bank account.
In a matter of seconds everything I worked so hard to build everyday for the past 8 years was essentially gone/jeopardized in the blink of an eye. The sinking feeling/pure panic I felt in that moment and in the days to follow is something that I would not wish on anyone.
It all started with something so simple…
I asked someone who was working with me to make an online return. Rather than look up and call the customer service number listed on the retailer’s website, she googled the customer service number which ended up being a fake number and direct line to a hacker.
One of the ways to protect yourself against hackers, scammers and fraud is: Never, ever google a customer service number. Only look on the retailer’s actual website. Hackers are so savvy these days and create false pages that show up high in google search results. They will slowly try to get more and more personal information out of you if you’re not careful or aware. I’m not going to go into further detail about everything else that happened after that initial call at this time, but that’s how it all began.
I am sharing my story not to gain sympathy, but to educate anyone who is reading this about hackers and scammers. Be wary of giving your personal information out over the phone. Never share a screen or download software that a company asks you to. Constantly update passwords. Get two factor authentication on every app especially your e-mail, never log on to sites containing sensitive information on airplane wifi or public wifi networks, and sign up for Lifelock. If something feels weird – hang up or walk away from a situation immediately. Trust your gut! You do not want to mess around with risking your safety and personal information.
As you can imagine, I’ve been doing a whole lot of reflecting these past few days.
I’m trying to stay positive and focus on how grateful I am to have friends and family members who have my back in the good times and the bad. A lot of you have been asking me about friendships and how to make friends for months and I feel more inspired than ever to write the post about “How to Find Your Tribe.” A tribe of genuine, kind people is truly the key to a happy, fulfilled life. One of my favorite quotes by Oprah has always been, “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Thankful for my tribe now more than ever. <3