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  1. #1
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    Brief History: I hired a girl in another state 1.5 years ago to help out with my website. She did a fantastic job. In Nov. 2003, things got a little freaky when this person (who I thought was 20, but now turned out to be 18), handed all work over to her 53 yr. old mother, without my consent. Mother started demanding mucho $$$$ even after I paid her daughter an additional 2 weeks vacation, 1 week sick time, and bought them a new computer. On top of the fact I was giving them 40% commissions as it were. Religious references were being brought up at an alarming rate, things were getting weird fast, so...

    On 2/26 I said "enough" and had to let go of both.
    I thought the annoyances would soon be over, but my nightmare had just begun.

    4 hours after giving the nicest let-go letter anyone's ever seen, I go to take over my domain's email addresses which I'd provided to them, so I could let clients know of their departure, etc...
    This is where the two became disgruntled. They couldn't believe I'd taken back my email accounts.

    Next day - 18 yr old goes into my forums and deletes over 50% of the content, of which I'd paid her for. I bring up the copyright/legal issues as well as the fact I'm not letting her keep
    the computer should this continue to happen. She emails me back a death threat.

    Next day - Another threatening email is delivered to me by 18 yr. old. demanding money (never mind the fact they were compensated in full before being let go). This came a mere hour after I'd verified with Constant Contact that she'd broken in and deleted all of my newsletter subscribers.
    NOTE: Constant Contact has the best Customer Service in the world and remedied the situation quickly.

    I then call my lawyer. Lawyer Fedexes a Cease & Decist. 18 yr. old refuses it. 53 year old mother phones my 74 year old retired father - really freaky phone call about how she's a "strong believer in God and I'm going to get mine." We're scratching our heads wondering how the ?? she even knew who my Dad was, where he lived, etc...

    Lawyer tries to send another C&D letter, to no avail. I should make note that since the email I sent about the forum rip-off's, I refuse to make any further contact with these people.

    3 Days later: An email account from my domain is hacked into (via Web-based email). One or both of them sends a NASTY email to several of my independent advertising clients from my email address. One of the clients forwarded it to us. We end up losing a client as a result.

    *** PASSWORDS for everything, as you can imagine - right down to my phone line have been changed three times already at this point.

    Right after the hacked-into email was sent out, I also tried to delete my IM account. No can do. Uninstalled software. Downloaded latest version of software. Registered new screen name. Old one now also shows up.

    4 Days Later: I come home at 6:30 pm barraged with IM's and phone calls. I'd told all my IM people that I'd tried to delete old account, and if anything should come thru to them under that name, to ignore it for reasons they understood. Well on this evening, the IM account was hacked into. And everyone was being IM'd from it - by the 18 yr. old (assuming my identity). They changed my icon into a skull with bones stuck thru it (used to be a Hello Kitty), and ended up IM'ing my disabled sister in CT and my 9 year old son at his computer in playroom. On top of other
    friends, etc... I was flippin' out!

    I go into IM account only after finding out they'd changed the password, without my knowledge at all. Have no idea how that happened. New IM software lets you type anyone's email address in there and scan/receive/view that POP account's email. Thus how they probably got: My Dad's info,
    my client's email addys (which they had no prior knowledge of), knew my lawyer's name, and God only knows what else. These people had been watching 100's of daily emails on this account all thru said IM software. Worse part is, if you sign up "any email account" to scan the email of thru this new version - the confirmation goes to the new email account, not the old one. (DOH!).

    I spent the next day (my birthday no less) down at the Police station. Who were gracious enough to contact their local sheriff. Needless to say there a ton of violations here, and I didn't just get one death threat - I ended up getting 5. I was even sent a lovely threat on my birthday by the 53 year old threatening my 2 young children.

    This has been nothing short of a nightmare. I spent 4-6 hours each day during March putting out some kind of fire. Things didn't start settling down til this past Monday.

    The reason I'm posting this is because I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from this. 1) Don't ever hire anyone you've never met. They may seem totally perfect - but they can get really weird - really fast. You never know who or what you're dealing with online. 2) Don't ever
    give any passwords to anyone. Once they have one (and that's all these people intially started with), even when you try and change it later - all it takes is some program that tens of millions of people have and voila - they can do some pretty nasty things. 3) Don't assume that
    "that program 10's of millions" have is safe - it's anything but - and you're completely out of luck when it comes to help with it. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about at this point, but I won't publicly state any names.

    When I called said software company (which police recommended that I do and that this co. would take such stuff very seriously) - I was treated as rudely as one could be. I spoke with the company's General Counsel office, Fraud office, Security Dept. for said software, and their basic C.S. line. They REFUSED to help me because it's "free software." Even after I told them this was now a police matter. Well, one well-known other Internet company had no problem shutting down 8 "Free email accounts" which these people sent me a week's worth of 100 spams daily from and the threat about my children. I believe that's why most smart companies online have an abuse@ email address And this software in question does as well -
    but they ignored that too.

    I'm hoping that the dust has settled and I'll actually be able to work this month All appropriate safeguards to ensure my family's safety are in place. And I hope this post has helped awaken your Internet security senses -- I know living thru it has most certainly heightened my own.



    Liz Welsh Tompkins
    Styleforfree.com
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  2. #2
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Cripes!

    Now is the time for some good spell work! And, I wouldn't hesitate for even one minute if I were you. You need all the help you can get! Find your local witch, preferably one who follows the Reed. She/He should be able to help.

    You need protection spells, bubble spells and binding spells. Get help. If you don't know how to contact reliable witches in your area, I have some ideas that might get you started.

    Best of luck to you in resolving this situation!
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  3. #3
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    1) Don't ever hire anyone you've never met. They may seem totally perfect - but they can get really weird - really fast. You never know who or what you're dealing with online.

    That is not true - Safeguards you could have taken:

    Request a resume with full references. (Heck! that one alone would have told you what to expect!)

    Maintain your own admin settings while giving them certain access to work within boundaries.

    Change your password at least once a month, it’s always better to have a password morph, but not many people know how to use them.


    I am really sorry to hear this terrible story, hopefully people will learn from it!

  4. #4
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Change your password at least once a month, it’s always better to have a password morph, but not many people know how to use them. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What is a password morph??

  5. #5
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    Wow that sucks. But that really is the reason, for as rude as it seems. Lock someone out first, then send the letter firing them. I don't care how nice the letter, lock them out first.

    Chet

  6. #6
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    Great advice SandraR - and you're absolutely right, I should've requested a resume first.

    Me been kicking myself in the head over a lot of mistakes - and that's a biggie.

    Liz Welsh Tompkins
    Styleforfree.com
    email: [email="lwtompkins@styleforfree.com"]lwtompkins@styleforfree.com[/email]
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  7. #7
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    Another excellent point Chet. Did I learn the hard way! Next time I'm grabbing all the biz email before I send the letter
    Liz Welsh Tompkins
    Styleforfree.com
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  8. #8
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    Yikes! That sounds awful! I hope you are getting the computer back. They don't deserve to keep it. What a pair of nuts.

  9. #9
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    "Deserve to keep it??" These people deserve a couple of years in prison for death threats.

    Wayne

  10. #10
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    Password morph:

    A program that randomly selects and changes all your passwords... very complicated at first... Once you get it its your best friend!

  11. #11
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    That's the next step if anything else happens (a couple years in jail). When I asked for the computer back - I was prompted with another threat.

    I should say Internet law on stuff like this is really, really hazy. FBI usually deals with this type of thing, but unless it's something on a grand scale, they don't really care. My local police were out of this world and didn't have to do a thing -- but they did. I did learn that most states have a "Tech Crime" division in their State's Attorney General office, so that's my next step if need be, but quite frankly, I'm pretty wasted from all of this and it's a lot more work to go trying to nail people doing this type of thing cross state lines. We need some Internet cops and badly -- I'm sure we can all think of a few parasites they could go after too
    Liz Welsh Tompkins
    Styleforfree.com
    email: [email="lwtompkins@styleforfree.com"]lwtompkins@styleforfree.com[/email]
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  12. #12
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    Liz,

    Keep us abreast fo your legal battle, your wins or losses could be our future!

  13. #13
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    All the best.

    Note to self : Do not hire anyone.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Just be aware this happens in the real world too. A friend of mine went thru the same thing with his next door neighbor. There are truely evil people out there.

    File a report with your local police department first. Let them call and coordinate their police. Document everything on paper. I wish you the best of luck.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  15. #15
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Yikes!

    Reading this, I'm glad I did what Chet said, when a guy I hired to do data migration ended up getting things screwed up! Especially since I kept my wallet shut!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Request a resume with full references. (Heck! that one alone would have told you what to expect!) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Anyone who has done a lot of job-switching (for whatever reason) and has any brains, knows how to invent a resume--and make the references check out.

    Heck, those 2 coo-coos even have a scam where the kid (who'll just "forget" ever meeting Liz and present a perfectly clean resume if someone asks) gets the j*b and then passes it over to the mother!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  16. #16
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    Liz,

    I really think you have an obligation to protect others from this happening in the future. What they did is criminal and should be followed up with the full extent of the law.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    While I personally would like to know who these people are, Liz you need to be carefull revealing names. They could hit you up for slander if they find this post. Be it true or not.

    Just something to think about.

    Chris

    ps...I feel for you. Good luck getting the computer back. Atleast in one piece and working that is. (But then you get them on destruction of private property.)
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  18. #18
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    ((Liz)) how awfull!! Sending out good thoughts your way for this to end soon!!
    Ebudae


  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Yep computers and Internet have made letting people go / sacking them a risky business in itself.

    We've not let anyone got for a while, but usually they'll find out about it when then come in the next day and find their PC has been removed, not even risking that they can get into it and that all their email accounts have had access changed.

    Not at all fun Liz, the Interenet can make life way more complicated than we'd like at times!

    Cheers

    Chris
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  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Since Chris bumped the thread, I might as well ask how this is going for you?

    I know what it is like when someone does something like that to you. That feeling of helplessness - all you want is for it to stop.

    Best of luck...

    Fred

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateBuddha's Avatar
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    I've already fired 3 people so far this month (in order to cut costs, in process of hiring less experienced, cheaper people) - it's really much easier when you run things in-house than outsourcing it, hire your employees only after you have taken proper interviews, checked their resumes and checked out with the references.
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  22. #22
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I didn't read this thread when it was first posted, but I'm darned suspcious that the teenage hacker.. sorry +33N@g3 hax0r.. might have planted spyware on Liz's PC.

    A good case for Spybot S&D I think.
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    What a nighmare!

    We have some "good ole boys" here in Oklahoma that could take care of your problem for you in no time!

    Somehow I missed all of this when it was originally posted. How about a follow up, Liz? Have things settled down for you now?

    Andy

  24. #24
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    Let's just say, as per an update, I'll take those good ol' boys from Oklahoma still Andy
    Liz Welsh Tompkins
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  25. #25
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    Liz,

    As my previous post was a little insensitive, I hope things get better in this situation.

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