A Harshaw woman warns others that email is not a secure way of transmitting information. WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski sat down with Elaine Strite to hear the story.
Elaine Strite says her email account was hacked earlier this year when she opened an unsafe attachment. The hackers were then able access emails she sent years ago…containing personal information and bank account numbers.
“On January 14, I got a phone call from a man who was a financial advisor – asking me how I wanted, and he named a very large sum of money - how I wanted that cut, did I want a check or did I want a bank transfer. And I was very puzzled because I didn’t think I had asked for any such thing or any such sum of money.”
Strite then discovered that tens of thousands of dollars had been transferred out of her bank account.
The bank was able to reimburse her, but the ordeal was far from over. She had to flag her name for credit requests, change her email password, and contact the sheriff’s department and the IRS. She says the case isn’t closed, and the feelings of being vulnerable persist.
“Emotionally I think you’re always waiting for the other foot to drop, even though you’ve taken actions to secure accounts that you can do something about.”
Strite says her situation was unique because she had been living overseas and that’s what prompted the email containing account details.
But she advises people to be very cautious about what information you send through email or store online.