Email Hacking is a Cyber Crime – My Story and How to Report Cyber Crimes

Posted on 06. Nov, 2010 by in Opinions, Popular Stories

I got my email hacked into this week – and boy, was I angry.  I”ve never been hacked in 15 years of having the same account, and I have the best of things you”re supposed to have to protect your computer.  Plus, I had a specially formulated password, I don”t click on random links or open emails from people I don”t know (much less click on executable files), and I never share my password with anyone.

And I got hacked by some jerk who thought that they had some right to use my email account to spam everyone in it with “viagra” links and others.  I still don”t know how they did it – but I”m guessing they must have used some kind of alpha/numerical sequencer.  Regardless, email hacking is a crime.

The first thing I did was change my password.  Then I deleted all my emails (although chances are good that they made a copy of everything) in case they hacked in again, and then I went searching on how to find whodunnit.

Actually, the first thing I did after changing my password and deleting my emails was to first send a warning email to myself, saying “You are being tracked THIEF.”  Ok, with the password changed, they may not be able to get back in for a while, but I figured it might at least slow them from using my account a second time if they re-sussed out the password.  And, basically, I was really, really mad.

One thing that many people don”t know, is that you can find the IP address of the person who sent you the email. It was a little harder to find information on the internet on how to find the IP address on a “sent” email address, but it”s still findable.  In Outlook, I went to my sent items, found each email that was sent, right clicked on it, and went to Message Options. On the bottom, you can see a message header that looks something like this (or at least mine did):

Message-ID: <BAY140-W2633EC864494A0F0DF1E686490@phx.gbl>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary=”_5f6ccfe2-db32-4efd-9274-b650d5050a9f_”
X-Originating-IP: [82.132.28.234]
From: Rose Garland
To: <all my loved ones @wherever.com>
Subject:
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2010 16:03:45 -0600
Importance: Normal
MIME-Version: 1.0

You can look up IP addresses a lot of places online, and they will give you some information, such as the country that it was sent from.  I looked up the X-Originating-IP (there were two different ones in all the emails sent), one was from Croatia, the other was from Macedonia.  In fact, the Macedonia one had an address of the cable provider!

With the name of the cable provider, I was able to find their website.  I was given an option to translate their page, which I took – although even translated, it was still in Greek – but I found the one word I was looking for: “Contact”

Once I got to their contact page, it was easy – there was an email address.  So, I wrote them a message saying basically, “Someone using your services has hacked into my email account illegally.  These are their IP addresses. I will be reporting them to our authorities.  Please let me know how you plan to fix this.”  Then I went to Babelfish, and had it translated into Greek and sent both English and Greek versions.

Step 1, taken care of.

Step 2 – I started searching for ways to report them.

I found this information on a web search, although I”m not sure now where I found it (I”ll keep looking – this was great information):

  • “Contact the Department of Justice. Another thing you can do to report email hacking IDs is by reporting it to the United States Department of Justice Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section. The official website for this is usdoj.gov. Look for the section on how to report a cyber crime.
  • Contact the FBI. If there are important and private files that are in your email account, the hacker may gain access to your other accounts. You can file a complaint with the FBI so that they do the necessary procedures to catch the hacker that opened your account without permission. You can go to the FBI”s website at fbi.gov. On this website, you will see links on the different FBI offices in different states.
  • Contact the United States Secret Service. Another government branch that you can contact regarding your hacked email is the United States Secret Service. On this website, you can find the contact numbers and the procedures that you have to do to report a cyber crime. The branch that will handle your complaint is the Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Working Groups.
  • Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center. This complaint center works with the FBI with regards to Internet crime. You can visit the website ic3.gov to file a complaint. You can file your complaint online by following the instructions on the website. You have to leave your name, email address, home address, contact numbers and the details on the hacking of your e-mail account. They will do the necessary investigation to catch the hacker.
  • These are some of the ways on how you can report people who are hacking emails. Reporting email hacking is a good step towards lessening the number of hackers online. Hacking passwords are not the only activity of these online predators. Aside from your email account, they can also hack online bank accounts and steal your credit card details. They can also hack into your system and steal important information that can be used to perform different types of crimes.”

Reading all this, what I decided to do is to go to the IC3.gov website, and put in the information that I had.  They will take a look at it, submit it to my local police station and the FBI.  Even if these bad guys (or gals) are never caught, I hope this will provide at least some help to catch criminals like them.

I”m still thinking of clicking on all the links, and doing some more detective work.  Maybe finding the cable providers of all the websites they tried to send my people too.  I”m not sure… I don”t want to end up being a victim of worse things while trying to track down the criminals.  I”d also like to see if I can use the message boundary to find out more information.

Regardless, the long and short of my story is that e-mail hacking is a crime, and you don”t have to take it.  You can be smart and careful, and still have it happen to you.  I really hope the good guys find them and are able to stop at least this particular ring of thugs.

And if you”re the victim of a cyber crime – report it.  The only way we can slow these crimes down, is for each one of us to give an additional piece of information to the people who can do something about it!

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31 Responses to “Email Hacking is a Cyber Crime – My Story and How to Report Cyber Crimes”

  1. Lenore Bleifuss

    07. Nov, 2010

    Good information, Rose. Let’s hope the hackers are caught and that no more problems arise for anybody. People spend so much time trying to do bad things, when they could be doing beneficial things to make the world better.

    • EASTMNNEWSWIRE

      14. Nov, 2010

      Thanks so much Lenore. :)

  2. Dave

    24. Nov, 2010

    It has happened to me too now 4 to 5 times. This is a crime no doubt. They sent these emails to contacts at a new employer of mine. Managers, recruiters, etc. I am so livid about this!

    • EASTMNNEWSWIRE

      24. Nov, 2010

      Man, that’s awful! Sorry to hear it. :( Hope reporting it gets you somewhere! I still haven’t heard back, but at least I have peace of mind knowing that I did my part. Good luck to you!

  3. Marino

    15. Mar, 2011

    So… I live in Canada, I’m not too aware of the laws in Canada,
    I’ve had a Game I payed for online taken and 2 emails I had, nothing too important lost except abit of contact with others, but I think a friend of mine traced it to California, how do the laws work then?

  4. Mindy

    08. Apr, 2011

    Hello, I’m in the same case. I’m thinking to report to IC3. May I know what’s the result of your case? Do they contact with you after that?

  5. Pat

    07. Jul, 2011

    I’d just send it to:

    washington.field@ic.fbi.gov

    My website was once hacked into. They raided the emails and private messages of hundreds of active users on my board. They posted those emails and also stole copyrighted material. They also downloaded the board database file onto their hard drive so hundreds of people had to change their passwords. I got evidence in the form of IP numbers, chat logs, board posts, family website photos. I found his name, address, date of birth, phone number, evidence of him hacking into numerous other websites over a multi-year period, destroying websites, password extraction, database query tricks, shell-booting, harassment, stalking, and bragging about all of it. I forwarded all that over to the FBI, nearly 100 screenshots of evidence. The FBI agent stopped by my home and said he had never seen anyone forward over that much info and they agreed I got the right guy even before the IP numbers checked out, which they did. He lived in the US so they could have gone after him. After three weeks of examining my case, they decided they couldn’t prosecute because they couldn’t prove damages exceed $5000.

    That really pissed me off. I told him about how when a simple email hacking involves a celebrity, the FBI is on it immediately and they do all the investigating.

    There are two standards of justice, one for celebrities, and another for the little guy.

    My story would make a great media story. I’ve often wondered if I should contact a reporter.

  6. Maryanne

    20. Jul, 2011

    Great information – but just because someone is sending an email listing you as the sender, does not mean they have hacked into your email account – From most email services you can list the sent from and reply to as ANY email address – not necessarily the one of the account being used to send the email

  7. Skip

    27. Jul, 2011

    I have a suggestion for another security measure. Since most of these criminals send their SPAM to everyone in your address book, I always add an email address that I have created for just this purpose. I name the email address you-have-been-hacked@anydomain.com. I do not use this email for any other purpose. I make sure to check that unused account regularly to see if any mail has been sent to me under this alias. This way I will know if any of my email accounts have been hacked immediately.

  8. Allan Austin

    27. Jul, 2011

    If the law cannot touch them wouldn’t it be nice to be able to send them a Trojan or some other infection to shut their computer down. Most of these people seem to have to much time on their hands, they need to get a real job like the rest of us and be productive instead of destructive.

  9. shelley

    28. Jul, 2011

    After a hacker breaks into your email account and opens a new account to use for fraud, what can be done to get the email service provider (e.g, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, AOL, etc.) to act and shutdown the hacker’s account and limit the hacker’s ability to attempt criminal activity. In my case, the service provider has not acted for 6+ days and the hacker’s is still trying to steal money from my contacts.

  10. shelley

    28. Jul, 2011

    Yahoo provides the ability to see where you were the last few times your account was logged into. In my case, I had “logged in” from Nigeria multiple times, even though I had not left my California home. This convinced me, but my email service provider, that the account had been broken into. Repeated reports to the service provider has not not resulted in shutting down the hacker’s new account.

  11. Chris

    28. Jul, 2011

    Hi Rose,

    I know exactly how you feel if your mail is hacked. I did almost the same you have done to track down these hackers. Unfortunately I live in the Netherlands and we don’t have these authorities to report cyber crime. Anyway, I have some additional tips for everyone on this topic:
    Most modern routers/modems do have ip blocking or banning capabilities. Add the address to you router or modem. You also can add this address to you VIPRE firewall under untrusted networks.
    If you have an e-mail server or an advance modem, scan you log regularly to identify unwanted IP addresses. Some entries are marked “hack attempt” with an IP address. Add the address again to your firewall or modem. Most of the hack attempts are coming from Russia, Poland and as you mentioned Rose, from Croatia and Macedonia, but also lots of hack attempts are coming from China.
    If you don’t have any relatives in these countries or don’t do business, you can block these countries. Almost all countries in the world have their own IP range. Chine for example starts almost always with 203.57.X.X – 203.223.x.x. and most commonly from 222.16.x.x to 223.255. You can find a list of country ip addresses on Google. If you are not sure, Google you found IP address and find out which country it is originated.
    Furthermore, if you have an old machine and a small network, build your own active firewall. The most efficient I ever found is (hope I may say this) smooth wall.
    The option of having a active firewall in you network or having an own e-mail server, gives you a lot of option for scanning on hack-attacks. These gadgets have pretty good logging and you should be able to identify hackers very easily.
    For those who don’t have the opportunity, try not to save you personal data, like credit card purchases, you bank account number for internet banking. What do I mean by that? Every time you enter a new password, or code, all browsers ask you to remember them. Most of the time you will click yes of course, because it’s so easy. Trust me, you don’t want to do that anymore! Please enter you personal data without letting them remember.
    If you again found a letter in your inbox of DHL or UPS, saying your parcel has been returned, check if you have ordered anything right now. Call UPS or DHL or whatever without re-plying the e-mail. Identify the IP address of this bugger and (the way Rose described) and block the address in you firewall, VIPER or whatever possibility there is you have.
    I could write you down more of these tips, but guess by now you get the picture that being connected to the internet, there is always someone out there hacking you right now! Don’t give him a change, because some software makes it easy for you to remember your passwords or codes.
    Surf safe!
    Chris

  12. Carol

    29. Jul, 2011

    Another thing to be aware of is scammers using dating sites to try to con people out of money. I was contacted by someone who claimed to have “fallen in love” with my photo. I am a skeptic and was immediately on my guard. I had heard about Malaysian scammers trying to bilk women out of money and decided to “bait the hook”, so to speak. I gave the person an email address I use for nothing more than registering for coupon sites, etc. I immedately received an email from the scammer. He must have thought me stupid because he began telling me a tale that would rival any of Mother Goose’s. I always keep correspondence when I am thinking about meeting anyone via a dating website. I will go back and compare responses to specific questions agains what they tell me (I told you I am a skeptic). Anyway, about 3 weeks into receiving emails from this whomever he, she, it really is, I received an urgent email requesting that I come to his aids (sic). Attached was a jpg of a customs certificate saying this person had to pay almost $5,000 in fees before equipment would be released from Malaysian Customs. I was so angry that anyone would think me dumb enough to send them money that I replied with a scathing email of my own. Later, I started looking into ways to report scammers and came across the Internet Crime Complaint Center. I immediately contacted the scammer and told him I was sorry for my harsh response. He emailed me back and told me any amount would help. I have been very careful with my responses and have received a contact person, address and other information asking me to wire money via Western Union to Kuala Lampur. All this has been reported to the ICCC and I have kept copies of all the emails. I will gladly give them any information they need to try to catch the crook(s).

  13. CoolBreeze

    31. Jul, 2011

    I have had problems with hackers and email hacking for years now. Not all of them have been malicious (I guess). The latest trick was that folders, where I saved friends and business email, in one email account (account A), mysteriously appeared in another, newly created email account (account B), although I had not given the second email address (account B) to any contacts in the first email address (account A). Nor had any mail been sent from the first (aacount A) to the second email address (account B).

    A couple of friends have had their PayPal accounts fraudulently used, but the money was later refunded by PayPal. I received an email from a friend in California, which was in Chinese. She doesn’t speak Chinese. However, once opened, the email injected a worm onto my pc. There were no images in the email, no attachments, nor did I click on any links. As soon as I saw the Chinese characters, I realised that I had a problem and deleted the email straight away, without checking the message header (as Rose recommended above). After a couple of weeks, I had to erase my hard drive and format it, because nothing was working properly on my pc any longer.

    Most of my problems have been with GMail and Yahoo! Mail.

    Another anomaly is that many combinations of my name have already been registered by someone else (or others) with Yahoo! Mail, GMail, Googlemail and Hotmail. I have an unusual name (first and last). When I checked a few years ago all these email addresses were available, but after I started getting hacker attacks and wanted to create a new email account, most combinations of my name were suddenly no longer available.

    In 2009 when I attempted to register a couple of domain names for a new business, using my first and last name, i.e.unusualname.com and unusualname.co.uk, those domains were already taken. However, no websites existed for those domains. In other words, someone was tie-ing up possible email and domain names that I might want to use.

    At the time when I started a new business, a fake (and libellous) Supreme Court document linking my name to hideous crimes was posted online and showed at the top of a Google search when anyone did a search of my name.

    I went to the police about the various cyber harassments, but have had no redress to date. The police here in London have said that it is not their job to investigate cyber crime. Does anyone know whom to contact here in the United Kingdom about these crimes?

  14. EASTMNNEWSWIRE

    31. Jul, 2011

    Hi everyone –

    I haven’t been replying, because there hasn’t really been any more for me to say, and other people here have given some EXCELLENT advice and feeback, some of which I am going to follow myself.

    I wish I knew the UK and Netherlands laws and actions you can take, but I don’t – however, maybe by posting here, someone else can help you? (Or you’ll end up helping someone else?)

    I was so angry when I was hacked – in fact, I’m still angry about it. It’s probably lame to say, “Sorry, that’s all I got,” but it is. I wish you all luck with your individual journeys.

  15. Bob

    31. Aug, 2011

    What if someone boldly tells you that he/she has been hacking your emails and even make copies and publish. Is there no punishment or legal claim for such persons?

  16. Habibullah

    03. Dec, 2011

    Hello,
    Last night from my email ID 12:21 AM 3/12/2011 some one sent mail to my company employers and our Boss and in mail written bad words but i dont know who sent this mail, my computer was turned off on that time. i am using outlook and i am sure that mail was not sent from my computer. i think some one knows my password and He did this. therefore can you help to find the location from where this mail sent.

    Hope to hear from you soon
    I shall be thankful to your Cooperation.
    Thanks and regards;

  17. Envy

    05. Dec, 2011

    hi there~

    My account now suddenly send out a lot of message to unknown accounts and all are the same message. I guess my account is hacked by someone. Other than changing to other password, is there any other ways to solve this problem? Because i changed my password 3 times before when I encountered this kind of problems in the past. Is there anyway to report this kind of problems?

  18. Waste of time

    15. Mar, 2012

    Rose,
    Thank you for sharing your story, I was a victim of cyber crime yesterday, my yahoo e mail account was hacked, yahoo did not respond in a proactive manner and they don’t even have a special department to handle information recovery other than by requesting a chat session and communicating in writing. This had obviously inconvenienced me a great deal and exposed my information, but my main concern was how to go about reporting the crime and were, your story gave me the guidelines to follow to report my experience hoping that by doing so we get closer to catching these worthless people who hack people’s e mail accounts for a living, I cannot imagine how sad their lives must be to choose to do this with their time. Life is too short SOBs, use your talent and time to do something useful.

  19. h4x0r

    16. Apr, 2012

    You translated your message into Greek and sent that to a Macedonian entity?

    Obviously you don’t know the hatred Macedonians and Greeks have for each other?

    Idiot. LOLOLOLOLOL

    Anyway. I’d for sure hax you any day. Thanks.

    • EASTMNNEWSWIRE

      16. Apr, 2012

      You are right, h4x0r@gmail.com at 184.186.215.99 – I don’t know everything. You are obviously very smart – much smarter than me, I can tell.

      h4x0r? Really?

      Hacking me would be boring. No challenge. Maybe try Dairy Queen for some kicks? All the free small ice cream cone coupons you could print? At least you’d be getting something. There are tons of great hackers out there, who actually make a difference in the world. Like members of Anonymous, who took down international pedophile rings – for example.

      I’m easy prey. Try stalking someone who isn’t in the lower echelon of the US 99%.

      I’m not saying you are – but if you happen to be part of the Mike & B. set, I’m not the scared young woman that you once terrorized. I’d have no problems submitting you to every single legal entity (and illegal entity) in the world for cyber stalking, even if you do work in a high-security clearance field.

      No one is untouchable anymore.

  20. randy

    18. Jun, 2012

    98.127.104.235 this person hacked me

  21. Sandra

    12. Nov, 2012

    Did anything ever happen here??? Were the FBI or anything that you contacted able to help you?

    My accounts been hacked into to but no one seems to be able to do anything because no money was taken out.

    • EASTMNNEWSWIRE

      25. Dec, 2012

      No, I never heard anything at all on this. :(

  22. Kim

    09. Mar, 2013

    Thank you so much for this information- someone has hacked in to my computer and the other day my whole computer crashed- I was on the phone all day with Microsoft to fix the problem- I was not happy and now I finally got it back online and it is happening AGAIN- I can’t afford to buy a new computer and why someone thinks they are privy to my information is beyond me- :( Can’t wait to get this person/people to accept responsibility for their actions- I have just backed everything up so the proof is saved for the people (Department of Justice/FBI) who can prosecute for the crime.

  23. Ali

    10. Apr, 2013

    It happens to me too at 31 march 2013. It is someone from haiti, and i found the ip address is “186.190.122.46″. I don’t know what to do with it/or this guy. I’ve only done report to the yahoo help center. this guy use my yahoo account to send strange email to almost all of my contact list which is made me really mad.

  24. jim

    18. Apr, 2013

    my wife opened my gmail account that i rarely used and found an e-mail stating ( ANY REAL MEN OUT THERE ) and she opened it and said i was replying to it which is the furthest from the truth. how would someone do this and how did they get some of my personal info. please help because this just destroyed my marriage of 23yrs

    • EASTMNNEWSWIRE

      19. Apr, 2013

      The only help I know of is in this article. There are probably much more current articles on the net now. Good luck.

  25. dianeb

    19. Apr, 2013

    Hackers piss me off!!! I’ve had the same email for 14 yrs, never clicked on anything or opened unk emails just like you yet I am locked out!!! I changed all my accounts to go to another email address but I don’t know if that will help or not. Mean people suck.

    • EASTMNNEWSWIRE

      19. Apr, 2013

      Yeah they do. Some people just mess with people for ‘fun.’