I'm really not in London...
April 14, 2010 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Help! My Gmail and Facebook accounts have been stolen and the passwords changed. Someone I know just called to tell me that he got an email saying that I'm in London in a hospital and need money immediately. What do I do?
posted by non-kneebiter to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Email the Facebook and Gmail administrators?
posted by orange swan at 7:00 AM on April 14, 2010

Best answer: Run all the security checks your computer has, and if you don't have a virus scanner installed, get one - such as Avast or Malwarebytes. Because this happened to more than one account, you might have keylogger malware installed that decoded your passwords.

Also, vary your new passwords site by site, which would help limit the damage. For instance, use a formula there's one "root" password and a few letters change based on the site title or URL or some other mnemonic.
posted by Miko at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2010

Best answer: Send emails from an alternate address to all your contacts alerting them that your accounts have been stolen, and not to believe what they hear from your old ones. Or call, or ask some friends to spread the word.
posted by procrastination at 7:10 AM on April 14, 2010

Having your friends pass the word on Facebook might also help. Sure, it will tip off the scamsters, but that might just cause them to move on to the next victim.

You won't reach a human administrator at Gmail. Not anytime today, at least.
posted by Dimpy at 7:19 AM on April 14, 2010

Get your friends to comment on any posts "you" make on your wall, saying that it's not actually you doing it. If they can do the same for any posts "you" make on other people's walls, that might go some way to limiting damage.
posted by djgh at 7:24 AM on April 14, 2010

Best answer: This exact same thing happened to me (just on Facebook; I don't use gmail), right down to the "I'm in London and need money" thing. To this day I still don't know how they got in; I don't run windows, don't use any facebook apps, know how to spot a phishing attempt, and use reasonably strong passwords.

In my case I was able to simply use the password reset to regain control of the facebook account -- they hadn't bothered to change the security questions or the associated email address on the account -- and spent the rest of the day changing my password on every account I have anywhere.

After which the Facebook security apparatus swung into action and shut down the account completely, because one of my contacts had reported it to them as having been hacked. It took a couple days of emailing back and forth with them to get it re-opened.

Which is to say you likely don't need to worry too much about getting friends to comment on your wall posts, as FB will likely shut the account down soon anyway; if anything, speed this along by asking your friends to report the account to facebook instead of spreading the word.

You'll probably need to start by getting your gmail account cleared up and deal with facebook later.
posted by ook at 7:39 AM on April 14, 2010

As with ook, this happened to me recently. You can also report the facebook account as being hacked on your own:


and for Gmail:

posted by chiefthe at 7:45 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the suggestions. ook, it's nice to know that it can happen to anyone.

Shutting down my FB profile was easy enough. It has already been disabled after reporting the problem only a few hours ago. Gmail wasn't very obvious about what to do, so this link (http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=50270) that some of you provided was great -- looks like they'll reset my password and in a day I'll be able to get back in by answering security questions.

Thanks again for all your help!!
posted by non-kneebiter at 3:42 PM on April 14, 2010

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