For many people, August 2018 has been a difficult month. Astrologers have warned of the tricky effects from eclipses as the energy for the planet shifts.
I was a little more than interested when I heard one Astrologer say that some of the effects could include cyber hacking because that’s exactly what happened to me.
I received a number of messages through my website from concerned people asking me to produce a receipt for a credit card charge that read “Shirley Dalton Newcastle”.
I was shocked. They weren’t my customers and I hadn’t charged their cards, let alone received any of the money.
It turns out someone set up a bogus account in Stripe (like Paypal) using my social media details to verify the account and then somehow charged the credit cards for amounts from $799 to $1995.
As soon as I became aware of this I contacted Stripe to ask them to investigate. They don’t have a phone number you can find anywhere so it was all by email and very frustrating. They advised that I had to go to the local police and get a police report, which I did.
That still wasn’t enough to convince them. I contacted the ACCC, Department of Fair Trading and the Australian Cyber Security Centre as well as other departments and no-one seemed to be able to help.
Where are the Cyber Police?
I was beside myself. I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t do anything about it until a representative from Stripe finally agreed to call me at 9pm. I have to say I was still sceptical that she was really a representative and not the scammer, however she gave me some details for the police and cyber security people if they wanted to contact Stripe.
Out of the blue I also received a phone call from an Australian Federal Police officer who informed me he would contact the victims and also the merchant company.
I have no idea what will happen with the investigation. I have no idea how much damage this has caused my business and reputation. What I do know is that it is extremely difficult to find and prosecute the people who do these things.
Where are the Cyber Police?
Truly, it’s a scary thing to find out your details have been used for something illegal and damaging to others.
You can’t be too careful with what you post or share. Just a few days ago Ross got a call from someone wanting to sell raffle tickets for a charity. He came and asked if I was okay to support the charity. “Yes, but you’re not going to give our credit card details over the phone are you?” I asked.
He shook his head, as if to shake his brain. It’s so easy to get caught with things like this and if you do it willingly or knowingly you are not covered by your bank. We were shocked and saddened to hear of an 80 year old couple handing over $15,000 believing they owed it to Centrelink and because they did it willingly the bank could not reimburse them.
It’s sad that we need to have cyber police and from my experience we definitely need to have a collaborative force with worldwide jurisdiction.
Until we get dedicated cyber police, be sure to check your accounts, your junk box and change your passwords – regularly!