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Stop and Smell the Roses

Venice, CA

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

Iro dress c/o (also love this one) // Hermes sandals (also love these)
Chloe bag // Janessa Leone hat // Charlotte Tilbury highlighter
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43 Comments

  • Faith says:

    Ugh, so sorry this happened to you. Thanks for sharing tips on what we can do to prevent the same happening to us. You have a great outlook and I hope everything turns out OK. I love that quote from Oprah too.

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you love <3

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Roses for Fridays | by mia says:

    Beautiful look for the glorious Summer days! 🌷👍🏼🌷

    🌸🍃ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🌸🍃| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Ewa Macherowska says:
    June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Rach says:

    OMG, I am so sorry this happened to you! I can’t imagine how you must have felt. Thanks for bringing this to attention because it is so so so important to be aware of scams and how to protect yourself from it. Hope things will start looking up for you!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thanks my dear – means so much to me! xo

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • BeingIsabella says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this Kat! All I can really say is that I hope you were able to get everything you lost back. It always makes me feel so sad to know the abundance of people there are in the world who do things as horrible as these. My dad has always warned me about hackers and scammers and how to be able to tell if you get an email from one, and when something is suspicious. He’s taught me to trust my gut from the very beginning and I can’t thank him enough for it. I hope that this week turns out WAY better than the last few days were. Good luck dear!

    http://www.beingisabella.com

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you for your kind words <3 I am waiting to hear from the bank if and when I will get the money back - I really hope I get it all back - and soon :( So glad your dad has warned you - we all have to spread the word - these hackers are getting more and more savvy.

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Talun Zeitoun says:

    I’m so so sorry again this happened my love, but I’m so glad you decided to share your story here despite knowing it’s not easy. You’re helping so many people avoid similar situations. You know I’m always here for you and you will RISE to the top out of this stronger than ever. I’ve seen you do it already :) XOXO

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Love you friend <3333

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • YZ Chan says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you! Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sure it’ll help other people avoid from falling into the same trap.

    http://www.yzwears.com

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you love – I really hope it does!

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Valerie Breslow says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Your advice is your post is priceless! Many thanks for the reminder and suggestions…we all need to address this issue and let go of the notion that it couldn’t possibly happen to us. Great timing.
    And if you need a little inspiration on stories about your tribe, I just posted one recently on my tribe (herd) – my personal group that is always there for me, supports what I’m doing, and, in spite of being separated by an ocean, continues to be a source of inspiration. https://www.equestrianwellness.com/single-post/2018/05/30/Who-is-in-your-herd

    All the best!

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you so much Valerie <3

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • May says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I had NO IDEA something like that could happen. Your story definitely helped me be more aware now.

    May || http://themoderness.com/

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Neither did I! So important to spread awareness!!!

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Em @ BloomingMagnoliasBlog.com says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you Kat. Me and hubby are so paranoid about all these things and always think twice before. Heck, we don’t even answer the phone if it’s an unknown number; if they’re looking for us, they can leave a VM and we’ll get in touch. Rarely anyone leaves a VM, but we get so many phone calls – you can get caught in the moment and share something you don’t want to or shouldn’t. And it is important to have ID theft protection – that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing your story – even though you’d want to keep something like this private, as influencers, I think we should be talking about these things as well – bring awareness to the public. We are so exposed with this whole online world. Keep your head up and send good vibes to the universe – it will all work out. Love, Em.

    https://www.bloomingmagnoliasblog.com/travel/a-mini-vacation-in-santa-barbara

    June 18, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      You and your hubby are smart to be super paranoid – these hackers are insanely good it’s really scary! Thanks for your sweet words XO

      June 18, 2018 | Reply
  • Natali says:

    Yep… Not so easy to deal with the damage which hackers and spammers can create…
    Thank you for sharing and speaking up about this issue.
    Also, I think that you’re looking gorgeous in this boho chic outfit! :)

    https://lartoffashion.com

    June 19, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you my love!

      June 19, 2018 | Reply
  • Cathy says:

    Thanks for sharing! I never would have thought something like that would happen from googling a phone number. Who would have thought that scammers are so savvy? I guess I’m pretty naive. Were you able to get your money back?

    June 19, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Crazy right? I am still waiting to hear if I will get my money back – I am praying I do – and soon. It’s a nightmare!

      June 19, 2018 | Reply
  • Keiko says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this. I really hope your bank will give your money back. It’s funny I was reading this now and this almost happened to me yesterday! I was working from home and had some issues with outlook so I googled customer service number of Microsoft/outlook and first number that popped on top, I called that number without even clicking the link because it looked rigid. It connected to someone with heavy indian accent (which is not uncommon for customer service call center) and I told her the problem and she asked me to share the screen which I have done before when I had issues with my computer so I didn’t think much of it but then once I shared the screen and what she told me didn’t make any sense and asked me to download something, I got the feeling something was off. Before I let her download anything, I closed all the windows and hanged up the phone and turned off my computer. They are getting savvy and I learned not to even trust google search! Hope google will have some more control over these scam sites to not to be on top of the search result! It’s crazy.

    June 19, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Oh wow! I am so glad you turned off your computer! I would absolutely wipe your hard drive since the software/shared screen is a sign of a possible virus and once you connect to wifi/get back on your computer they can continue streaming data :( I also changed my wifi password! It really is so crazy!

      June 19, 2018 | Reply
  • Blayre says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’m terribly sorry to hear about this. I work for a financial institution in Canada and we see this a lot. I’m sure your followers would love to hear if you find any kind of resolution from your bank, hopefully you can recover all your funds. Good luck and let us know how things work out!
    – B

    June 19, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you – I am praying that my bank returns the funds and it all gets taken care of soon :(

      June 19, 2018 | Reply
  • Danni says:

    OMG that is scary! I’m glad you talked about this because I would google a customer service line. Thank you for sharing!

    -Danni

    June 21, 2018 | Reply
  • 2018 Friday Finds #25 || Favorite Links on the Web — bows & sequins says:

    […] This story made my skin crawl! I’ve had friends and family members deal with similar types of identity theft, thankfully not quite as bad, but it’s always so terrifying and scary. Kat has great tips for protecting yourself against it! All good reminders. […]

    June 22, 2018 | Reply
  • Kelly says:

    Kat…just seeing this now. I’m so sorry this happened to you! I understand not wanting to bring more energy to the negative side of what happened but I appreciate you wanting to turn it into a way to help others. Thank you! If anyone knows how to push forward it’s you. The universe has your back. xx, Kelly

    June 22, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you so much love <3

      June 22, 2018 | Reply
  • Jandrew says:

    Oh Kat what a nightmare. It seems as hard as
    we all work we are open to sabotage. I have had a malicious hack , just vandalism. So sorry this happened but thank-you for sharing and maybe helping someone else.
    Jandrew
    Dress The Part
    http://www.jandrewspeaks.com

    June 22, 2018 | Reply
  • JDW says:

    So sorry that happened to you. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it will help others, including myself, on being careful with our information and the Internet. Hoping everything gets restored.

    On a separate note, you look fabulous in that outfit. You always look great : )

    June 22, 2018 | Reply
  • Michelle Johnson says:

    So sorry to hear that happened to you! I hope everything is cleared up quickly!

    June 24, 2018 | Reply
  • Nadya says:

    Kat, I’m so sorry this happened to you! How scary to have your money wired out!!!! I hope you get it back and they catch those mofos! Your post has inspired me yp set up two factor authentication, thank you so much for sharing your story!

    June 28, 2018 | Reply
  • Weekend Chic - With Love From Kat says:

    […] Friday!  Woohoo!  We all made it through the week :)  I had a few hiccups along the way with my hacking drama, but am seriously grateful for one of my oldest friends from NYC who flew out to LA to help me sort […]

    June 29, 2018 | Reply
  • Courtney Betts says:

    I am so sorry to hear about this terrible situation. I will pray that it gets resolved soon. Thank you so much for sharing the info as hard as it is.

    June 30, 2018 | Reply
  • Tricia says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips they were things I didn’t know. I saw your insta story about name change and you look so sad. I’m sorry this is all happening. Try and stay strong and know that you have so many that just love and adore you. Your heart and soul is your true identity. Praying it all works it self out quickly. 🙏🏼🙏🏼

    June 30, 2018 | Reply
  • A Girl, A Style says:

    Oh my goodness, Kat. I am absolutely lost my words and felt stressed just reading this on your behalf. I am truly so, so sorry this happened and wish there was something I could do to make it all better (and please let me know if there is anything *at all* I can do).

    I had my site hacked last month (they got in through a plug-in which I learned is shockingly common so I am now vigilant about updating plugins) and I felt so violated that my work could be compromised in an instant, but I can’t even comprehend how this must feel.

    Praying there will be a light at the end of this ordeal for you soon (and thank you for the positive lesson to us all to protect ourselves online).

    Sending love!
    Briony xx

    June 30, 2018 | Reply
    • kat@withlovefromkat.com replied:

      Thank you so much babe. I am so sorry to hear your site was hacked! That is terrifying. Your support means so much to me <3

      June 30, 2018 | Reply
  • Melody Gangi says:

    I am SO SO sorry this happened to you!!! It’s upsetting to even think why some person – loser actually would dare!! You are so sweet and you immediately think of others and how to share your story to protect others from these disgusting hackers!! I’m so sorry and you will come come back from this strong!! Sending hugs!!

    June 30, 2018 | Reply
  • Karen says:

    I had the identical thing happen but with LinkedIn tech help number on Google. These hackers actually knew tech help! Part of the problem is that most computer or software companies don’t put contact info on website.

    July 1, 2018 | Reply
  • Ajmaa says:

    I’m soo sorry that happened to you:((
    You are my favourite blogger I hool things will get better soon!

    July 1, 2018 | Reply
  • Logan Christine Ranhofer says:

    So gutted to hear this!! I hope they can ultimately find the scammer and others so this will happen less frequently than it does. Thanks for the tips to keep us safe online.

    Wishing you all the best!
    xoxo Logan
    http://www.habitsandhues.com

    July 1, 2018 | Reply