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UPDATE  01-29-30

Microsoft validated my ownership of my compromised e-mail account, disabled it, and then sent a link so that I could reset the password and regain control.  This resulted in me regaining access and control of my mail account.  I can’t tell you all how relieved I was.  I have had that account for years; many people I keep up with have no other means of keeping in touch with me.  I want to thank those of you who e-mailed me with data.  I particularly want to thank Ms. Sharon Gaughn for her offers of assistance and help; it was very much appreciated.  As far as I know, some fourteen contacts of mine either called or e-mailed me they had received the phish from the perpetrator of the scam.  They subsequently e-mailed me the e-mail they received and I forwarded that on to Microsoft.  The evidence was overwhelming and, to Microsoft’s credit, true to their word, within 24 hours of the compromise, my account was disabled from the hijacker and I reestablished access and control.

Thanks to all who helped…you know who you are.

SA-ET  01-29-10

I’d rather not get into how my e-mail account became compromised; suffice to say, due to a phishing scam, it did.

So, most of yesterday was spent presenting Microsoft with every possible bit of information I could think of that would convince them of the following:

a) my e-mail accont had been compromised,
b) the password had been changed,
c) that I was no longer able to enter or control my e-mail,
b) and, pleading with them to disable the account,
d) and then send me the link so that I could reset the password and regain control/access to it.

I’m still waiting for an answer as to what they are going to do; so far I’ve been unsuccessful. Whether I can prevail in regaining control of my account will largely depend on whether I can absolutely prove that I am the legitimate owner of the account and that it has indeed been compromised.  Think about how hard it would be to convince the admins of your e-mail account that you are who you say you are and that the people who are running your e-mail account are not who they say they are when you opened your account twelve years ago, can’t remember the zip code of where you were when you opened it, your password has been changed, the answer to your secret question has been changed, and your alternate e-mail address has been changed.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not fault Microsoft for scrutinizing closely what I’m saying, after all, they are only doing what they would also do to someone who was using them to compromise my account in the first place…and, in this case, Microsoft has no responsibility for the compromise; it is entirely my fault that this happened.  Nonetheless, I am still waiting to regain control of my e-mail…hopefully I will hear from them today.

What has been the outcome of the compromise?  I have gotten numerous phone calls from many close to me who have receive e-mails from “me” that say the following:

Hi,
How are you doing today?.I am really sorry to bother you with this email but i just want you to know what i am facing right now.I am sorry that i didn’t inform you about my traveling to London UK for a Seminar,i am presently in London now but unfortunately for me i lost my wallet in a taxi where my money and other valuable things were kept.I will like you to assist me with a loan of $3000 or whatever you can afford urgently to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home. I promise i will pay you back as soon as i return.Kindly let me know if you can be of help so that i can send you the details you will use to send the money to me here in London.

Any assistance you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Notice the grammar and punctuation/lack of punctuation.  Everyone who has called me recognized right away that this did not come from me.  One can imagine how embarassing this could be…as the perpetrator of this fraud has access to my entire e-mail contact list and is likely to mail most, if not all, of them this request.  It’s a nightmare.

Some who have commented here (you know who you are) are indeed on my e-mail contact list and could conceivably receive such an e-mail.  If you do, please neither respond nor delete it.  I would ask that you please FORWARD the e-mail to a temporary e-mail account that I have set up in order to capture just such e-mails and forward them to Microsoft for their investigation…make sure the header is included.  The address of my temporary mail account is DELETED 01-29-10 SA-ET (NOTE:  I ask that you only use this address for the purpose I requested.  (As soon as this issue is rectified, one way or the other, this e-mail account will be permanently closed.)

Sorry if this causes any of you any inconvenience.

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