Home > Case Studies > How Computer Hackers Stole My Identity: A Case Study

How Computer Hackers Stole My Identity: A Case Study

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 31 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Firewall Protection Identity Theft

Katie Nimmo regrets not renewing her firewall protection as it led to her experiencing the problem of identity theft. “When my anti-virus contract ran out it wasn’t high on my list of priorities to renew it” Katie says. “I’d never had any problems with my computer and had no reason to worry about security.”

Computer Security

Katie felt that she had high levels of security on her computer. She only visited a few trusted websites and used her computer for emailing friends and family. She had set the security settings on her PC to high and felt that she was well-protected. “I had no idea about the kinds of problems there could be with hackers.”

Victim of Hackers

The problems came when one of her friends became the victim of hackers. They took control of the PC, accessed her address book and then sent out rogue emails to everyone on it. Katie was one of the recipients. “I should have realised that the message didn’t sound like my friend at all but I had no reason to be suspicious.” Embedded in the bogus message purporting to be from her friend was a link which Katie unthinkingly clicked on. In fact this then enabled the hackers to download malicious code into Katie’s PC. Without a strong firewall Katie wasn’t protected and the hackers were able to gain access to sensitive information.

Personal Details

“You don’t realise but you have so much personal information saved on your computer. I had my online banking details, my security passwords and my national insurance number. I never for a moment thought that they would be seen by anyone but me.”

In fact the hackers were able to access all of those details and set up an elaborate identity fraud using Katie’s name and details. They applied for several credit cards as well as signing up for various internet sites including gambling and casino sites. All of this happened without Katie’s knowledge or awareness.

Identity Theft

“The first I knew about it was when the bills began landing on my doorstep. I also got some odd phone calls offering me credit and inviting me to join a casino. I just couldn’t understand what was going on.”

Katie got in touch with the credit card companies to explain that she was not responsible and hadn’t applied for an account. She was also advised to contact a credit reference agency and to report the case to the police. “It was a lot of hassle and I was very worried for a while that I would have to foot the bill.” Katie’s friend had explained to her about what had happened to her PC and gradually Katie pieced together what had happened. “It made me feel very vulnerable.” Katie called out a computer adviser to look at her PC and he cleaned up her machine and installed a suitable firewall and antispyware to protect her machine from further attack.

“I really would recommend everyone to invest in decent protection for their computer as it is amazing how clever and devious these hackers can be. It has been a lot of hassle and inconvenience and just hasn’t been worth the small amount of money I saved. I’m just glad it’s over, even though I am now flagged as vulnerable to identity theft. I really hope that’s the end of it.”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • AboutIdentityTheft
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Shree - Your Question:Hi, I have just got my NI number in a post. The letter contains my name as Mrs Bhagyavi Barthkumar Patel…
    20 February 2017
  • Shree
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Hi, I have just got my NI number in a post. The letter contains my name as Mrs Bhagyavi Barthkumar Patel instead of Mrs Bhagyavi…
    19 February 2017
  • Pd77
    Re: Your Driving Licence and your Passport
    My national insurance card and drivers licence have been stolen. what Risk is there if someone using them to get…
    2 February 2017
  • Yogesh Raja
    Re: Proving Your Identity
    Relying on signatures is boosting identity fraud because in the event of crime signatures do not even expose person's gender. To make…
    1 February 2017
  • JCG78
    Re: Identity Theft of the Deceased
    @Nana - come clean after his death. If you report him he will be arrested and face charges for stealing someone else's ID. What…
    27 January 2017
  • Nana
    Re: Identity Theft of the Deceased
    I have been caring for elderly uncle in his late 70s . He has been using his brother ID for many years . His brother lives…
    26 January 2017
  • Louise
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Hi. Can a national insurance card be used to find someone's bank details out ? I currently filled some details regarding a tax…
    11 January 2017
  • PRA
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    My employer had a data breach of my NI number and it took them over two months to inform me of the breach. This seems too long.…
    23 December 2016
  • A.K
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    I was waiting on a letter from HMRC - my new tax code. It always has a note of my FULL national insurance number, FULL name…
    20 December 2016
  • AboutIdentityTheft
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Vhp - Your Question:My ex employer has been using my NI without me knowing and I have been paying tax every month and few weeks…
    8 December 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AboutIdentityTheft website. Please read our Disclaimer.