Mangaluru: Beware of Email Hackers! Entrepreneur Vishwas Shenoy from Puttur got Hacked

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CAUTION : DO NOT UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT WHEN YOU SEE A MESSAGE TO DO SO FROM YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER- THE MESSAGE COULD BE FROM EMAIL HACKERS?

Mangaluru: Most people only hear of sensationalized cases of hacking, such as a celebrity or politician whose email was compromised. Yet it can happen to anyone, and you may not even realize you have been hacked. Certain indications that will let you know that your email account is hacked is : You can’t access your account using your password; Someone tells you they have received odd email messages from you; your bank calls to validate a wire transfer request they have received; Your email account’s activity has been deleted (messages sent and received are gone); You don’t recognize messages in your “sent” folder.

The reasons someone would hack an email account might include: To send messages to your contacts as if they are coming from you. The hacker may be trying to trick them into believing that you are in trouble and need their assistance, usually financial help; To send other types of spam email. The hacker may get paid per click on a link within the email or may be trying to scam the recipient out of information, i.e. credit card or debit card details. The email appears to come from you (a trusted source) which cause the recipient to let his/her guard down; To gain access to your other accounts. This is especially harmful if you have used the same password on other accounts that you used on your email account.

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There are various ways the hacker may have accessed your email account: Your password is weak; You inadvertently downloaded malicious software (malware); You lack security software (antivirus and malware protection) or your security software is outdated. It is important to keep your security software up-to-date and automatically apply new signature files;You have failed to update your computer’s operating system with the latest security patches. Make sure you activate settings to automatically apply patches and updates to your operating system, web browsing software and Adobe applications.

Following is an email that I received from one Mr Vishwas Shenoy requesting me to send him money immediately :

Vishwas Shenoy <vishwas1313@hotmail.com>

May 16 (2 days ago)
Dear Mr D’souza,

I’m in London, and urgently in need of your help. Please send me £1,500 to enable me to complete my activities here. I will refund you as soon as I return.
Send it through Western Union Money Transfer with this information.
Receiver: Vishwas Shenoy.
Location: 122 Wandsworth Road London, SW8 2LB, United Kingdom.

Thanking you, Regards, Vishwas
Although I knew that it was a bogus email from a hacker trying to swindle money from me, I replied back anyhow to fool him/her stating :

Alfie D’Souza <alfidi…@gmail.com>

May 16 (2 days ago)
to Vishwas
OKAY I WILL-LITTLE BUSY NOW-IS THAT MONEY U REQUESTED ENOUGH- IF U NEED MORE LET ME KNOW- I WILL TRANSFER THE AMOUNT BY TONIGHT
I got a immediate reply stating :

Vishwas ShenoyMay 16 (2 days ago)
£1,500 is OK. Thanking you, Regards, Vishwas

So I replied back to the email stating :

Alfie D’Souza <alfidi..@gmail.com>

May 16 (2 days ago)
to Vishwas
K- BY TONIGHT_TAKE CARE

I once again got a reply back from the hacker in the name of Vishwas:

Vishwas Shenoy 5:57 PM (22 hours ago)
Did you make the transfer. I am still waiting to hear from you. Thanking you,…

Now for the final time I replied back with a strong message, which I knew that the hacker will not respond back :

Alfie D’Souza <alfidi…@gmail.com>

8:32 PM (19 hours ago)
to Vishwas
DEAR MR SHENOY,

SORRY TO LET YOU KNOW THAT WHILE I WAS CARRYING THE LUMP SUM MONEY IN MY BAG, I GOT ROBBED AND SOME CROOKS TOOK OFF WITH ALL THE MONEY. NOW I AM COMPLETELY BROKE LIKE YOU- I THINK YOU SHOULD SEND ME SOME MONEY BY WESTERN UNION. HELP ME, I AM IN NEED OF MONEY NOW.

BUT JUST LIKE YOU WERE TRYING TO SCAM ME, I ALSO TRIED TO FOOL YOU. BY THE WAY I JUST FOUND OUT THAT MR SHENOY IS NOT IN LONDON, BUT IN PUTTUR IN SOUTH INDIA. SO NEXT TIME, YOU MAY FOOL SOME PEOPLE, BUT YOU CAN’T FOOL CERTAIN PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. YOU FAILED IN YOUR PLANS THIS TIME- SO YOU BETTER HANG YOURSELF–GOODBYE. MR ????

Having got the contact number of businessman Mr Vishwas Shenoy in Puttur, I called him this morning and got further details from him, where he told me over the phone, “As a Past President of DKUPDA, and sitting President of Rotary Club of Puttur East, my contacts had a whole lot of journalists and other elite members of the society and all of them were sent such mails. It was quite embarrassing to respond to their calls but their genuine concern made them enquire about the reality of the situation. My account was hacked, because couple days ago I had updated my email account assuming that it was a genuine email from my Internet provider- but now I know it was a fake email, and the hackers got all my information. Puttur town police with the help of cyber police have started the investigation. I have stopped using the particular email account. After I came to know about this incident, I’ve tried contacting many of my friends/relatives not to respond to such emails, but I am not sure how many of my people that I know have sent money to London. I hope not many or none at all. I only hope the cyber crime officials will sleuth into this scam, and arrest the culprits at the earliest before they scam more innocent people whom I have contacts with”.

Closeup portrait of a young male thief stealing data from laptop computer
Closeup portrait of a young male thief stealing data from laptop computer

The reason that I got this email under Vishwas Shenoy’s email address, is because my email address is with Mangalore Press Club mailing list, and Mr Shenoy has done lots of correspondence with the journos. Mr Shenoy is not the only one, many others have also been hacked, including myself. Last year I too was a victim of these Internet hackers – unknowingly I had updated my personal history for a information update request form sent by Yahoo ( but later found out that it wasn’t sent by Yahoo).

I had submitted all my personal details, my old password and new password etc etc – and all this was made to use by the hackers to put me into a mess and inconveniences. Using my password information, the cyber criminals had used mt email ID and had sent a request message stating that I was stranded in UK, and that I was running short of money and I wanted financial help very badly. When my friends had got this message, they were all stunned, since they knew that I was already in Mangalore not UK. Worried and concerned about me, few of my friends including my brother from States called had called me to find out my situation. (More details of my story, click on the article link below this report).

Few days ago I had received yet another email from hackers on the email account of my friend Jerome Mendes from Goa, stating :

jerome mendes

May 5 (12 days ago)
to jerome
Nr D’Souza, How are you,

Sorry for any inconvenience, I’m in a terrible situation. Am stranded here in Ukraine since last night. I was hurt and robbed on my way to the hotel I stayed and my luggage is still in custody of the hotel management pending when I make payment on outstanding bills I owe. Am waiting for my colleagues to send me money toget back home but they have not responded and my return flight will be leaving soon. Please let me know if you can help and I will refund the money back to you as soon as I get back home. Please let me know if you can help.

Just for the heck of it, I replied back :

Alfie D’Souza May 5 (12 days ago)
Okay, I will -let me know how I can send u the money

In no time, I got a immediate reply :

Jeronimo Mende

May 5 (12 days ago)
to me
Glad you replied,All i need now is just $3,300 USD or anything you can afford, You can have it wired to my name via any Money Gram or western Union Outlet around you… I’ll have to show my passport as ID to pick it up here and i promise to pay you back as soon as I get back home hopefully today including the western union charge fees. and you can also help me send it online via money gram with you card, just log on to www.moneygram.com and follow the procedure to send money.,Here is my info where you will wire the money to:
NAME : Jeronimo Cirilo Mende
Address: Boryspilska St 11a Kyiv
STATE : Kyivska
Zip code: 02093
COUNTRY: Ukraine

As soon as you have it done, kindly get back to me with the MTCN or reference confirmation number. Let me know if you are heading to the Money gram.
I owe you. Thanks- Jerome

So, in case if your email account is hacked, you need to know how to respond: Regain control of your account. It may be as easy as resetting your password, but it may require contacting your email service provider’s help desk;Send an email message to those in your contacts list to inform them your account was hacked and to be wary of recent messages sent from your email address;Use a new, hard-to-guess password. Don’t use this password on any of your other online accounts; Change all security questions and answers. This will help reduce the chance the hacker may be successful in subsequent attempts to access your email account; Check for alternate email addresses. These may have been added to your account for account recovery purposes.

Delete any that may have been added by the hacker;Consider setting up a new email account; Run your security software. This will help determine if the hacker downloaded any viruses/malware; Check your other online accounts. Be sure to check those connected to the hacked email address for signs of tampering. This is a good time to change those passwords and security questions/answers as well. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you feel the hacking of your email account may have caused exposure of any of your personally identifiable information (Tax ID’s, account numbers, credit card/debit card accounts), call your financial institution immediately.

You think you’ve taken all the right steps to protect your email account. However, despite your best efforts, it’s been hacked. Your friends are SMS-ing and calling you, wondering if you’re really stuck in London or Australia without your passport and money. You’re finding yourself locked out of your email account. Now what do you do? Here are few tips to keep you and your email contacts safe after your email account has been hijacked or otherwise compromised.

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How to Protect Your Email Account from Hackers

If you’re not a good person with computer or just got your first ever email account, this article is good for you. Email accounts are used for anything from personal emails to friends to sending important letters to you bank or someone important, and some people are so sad and have nothing better in their life but to look into other peoples emails account for money, pleasure, or personal reasons, and can put your privacy and even your life at risk (on an extreme scale), so here are some steps on how you can protect your email:

– Every email service provider, be it Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. has different security measures. All of the above companies timely provides security steps to protect user’s account. They timely send emails to their customers like your account is being attempted to compromised from different IP addresses. Please change your password.

– Email address. Have a complicated email address, not so you will forget it, but so no one else can guess it through your name (it should contain a number – for example, John023@_____.com)

– Have a secure password. Passwords are there to protect your account; without passwords we would be lost. Make sure your password is complicated; do not use your name, or last name. For example, do not put in “John” because the first thing that hackers will do is to guess your password based on your name. Don’t use a phrase or use a pet name that most people know about. For example, do not put in “MyPetMaddy” or “ShowUsYouFeelGood”. Try to use a complicated code like “mkael092” or use a code like this “09484M92”, so it is impossible to guess. Choose a password you have not previously used on your account before. A good password will contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters; numbers; and/or special characters such as %, $, and +. It is very important to keep your password private at all times. A password that contains a mixture of letters and numbers is a good way of securing your password.

-Protect your computer. If your computer is wireless or does not use any antivirus software and is used not just by you, your email address and password is completely at risk. Download free antivirus software by going to www.avast.com. Using wireless isn’t the safest form of using the Internet, as it can be hacked by people using network sniffers. If you have no other choice, make sure you have a WPA key on your wireless Internet connection. You can change or add one by going into Connections -> Your Wireless Network -> Wireless Map -> Your Router -> Properties -> Device Webpage. Then click Wireless Security Settings and then “WEP/WPA Key”. It’s best to have it set using a WPA key as it’s the latest version of security.

-Your email ID and its password are your own confidential information. No company’s employee will ever ask you for your password in an unsolicited phone call or email message. The sender is a hacker, no doubt. S/he wants to gain access to your account and send spam emails, like asking money from your contacts or make an unauthorized third party send spam or fraudulent emails to your contact list.

-If you are a victim of such a scenario, please contact the respective company immediately. Every company has an account verification department. They also provide instant chat support/phone support. By changing your password immediately, you quickly minimize the resulting risk of your Yahoo! account.

– If you are ever asked for your password in an unsolicited manner or by someone you do not believe to be a representative of Yahoo!/Hotmail/Facebook/gmail, etc., please do not share your password with them and ask them the reason for asking or contact directly the respective company, as they have a separate department to handle such issues, like Yahoo!’s mail abuse department.

– You should change the security questions and answers wisely. The answer to a good security question: Cannot be easily guessed or researched; Doesn’t change over time; Is memorable; Is simple or definitive

Also read the following related article :

Mangalore: Mount Carmel School Email ID Hacked! Tips to Avoid being Victims of Cyber Criminals


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3 Comments

  1. NOW A DAYS THESE EMAILS ARE COMMON. DAILY ONE OR ANOTHER WE ARE RECEIVING. EVEN MY EMAIL ID HACKED AND SENT AN EMAIL TO MY BANK MANAGER IN MY NAME THAT I AM IN USA AND IN PROBLEMS,SO TRF SO & SO AMOUNT. BETTER MY BANK MANAGER CALLED ME TO CONFIRM. SO WE SHOULD BE ALERT IN ALL THE WAYS.

  2. Thanks a ton for sharing this with the public. There are so many cyber crimes happening in this world and most of them go un reported. My intention of lodging a complaint is actually justified by your publishing this article. My account is as old as about 18 yrs and I check my emails regularly. Point is even a regular user of the net can be a victim of such hackers and we need to be very cautious while sharing our details. Children particularly are more tech savy these days but can be easy privy to such situations. Always log out after using the net even on your personal computer. Thanks Alfie for the information provided and hope that you achieve in your mission of educating people, the right use of the internet.

  3. Thank you a zillion times for kind concern for the society by sharing your valuable tips and information.GOD bless you.

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