This Is What Happens When You Get Hacked

Inside: The Best Way to Protect Ourselves from a Scam

Have you been hacked online, over the phone, or by a romance scammer? I can’t believe how many people I know who’ve been taken in these ways, smart people, not the ones you’d expect. So what is the best way to protect ourselves from a scam?

Because, trust me, you don’t want this to happen to you!

Thank God I walked in when I did

As I pulled off my coat, I saw Dad sitting in front of his computer. On the phone, he watched his cursor dance around the screen, but he wasn’t touching the mouse. 

I picked up the extension.

Confidently, the Indian man on the other end said, “Your father has fraudulent charges on his Amazon account. We’re taking care of that.”

We want to know the best way to protect ourselves from this robber climbing out of a laptop.
Image by Mohamed Hassan.

He sounded official, smooth. I believed him until he asked Dad for his credit card number. That didn’t sound right. I texted my sister. 

As Dad ran to get his card, I yelled, “Stop! Don’t give it to him.”

The man said, “Get her off the phone. I want to talk to you alone, sir.”

The hair on the back of my neck stood up as Dad sat back at his computer, card in hand, and began to type his number. My sister beeped in. Dad ignored her.

She texted,

When we see someone getting hacked, the most loving thing we can do for them is to GRAB THE PHONE!!!!!!

Was that the right thing to do? 

As if in slow motion, but a blur at the same time, Dad finished typing as I snatched the receiver and disconnected the call.

The word hacked.
Image by Pete Linforth.

Dad yelled as I continued texting. “Call him. Explain what happened. He doesn’t believe me.”

She’d just got hacked herself, using her credit card at a gas station. The bank contacted her to verify transactions. When she didn’t recognize a charge, they called then canceled her card. A week later, a cop showed up at her door with a package she hadn’t ordered.  Could she even trust him?

He said, “Gas stations are notorious for this sort of thing.”

She and I talked for only a minute because we had work to do. Immediately, we canceled Dad’s credit card.

Back on the phone, we made a list of what to do next:

  • Turn off the computer, unplug it
  • Take it to get scrubbed 
  • Call the bank
  • Change the account because we’d used online banking
  • Reset the passwords

All week I’ve been researching 

According to

  • There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds.
  • Cybercrime is more profitable than the global illegal drug trade.
  • Russian hackers can infiltrate a computer network in 18 minutes.

So what do we take off our computers, keep on a flash drive instead, to be safe?

  • our lists of usernames and passwords
  • our taxes

Even as I looked for the answers to my questions

I was careful about what I clicked on. No ads, I went for recognizable sites because Mom got scammed last summer.

Image by Alexas Fotos.

She wanted help with Facebook. 

Instead of asking us, she found a number online and called it. It wasn’t until she got off the phone and told my sister she’d given the person $500 that she found out she’d been taken. 

Thankfully, my sister was able to stop the payment.

A friend told me her father was called by a man impersonating a policeman—who’s going to hang up on him, right?

The policeman told my friend’s father that his grandson had been arrested and he needed to wire $8,000 to post bail. The call, initiated outside the country, made it impossible for them to catch the thief.

So how do we protect ourselves from a scam?

I know you’ve heard some of this, but it’s well worth repeating:

  • If you don’t recognize the caller, don’t pick up.
  • Never give financial info to someone who’s called you!
  • Don’t click on a link a caller provides.
  • Always ask callers to send things in writing.
  • If your credit card has purchase alerts, set them up. 
  • Use 2-step authentications when possible.
  • Don’t use unsecured wifi settings.
  • Keep your computer up-to-date.
  • Keep sensitive data off the cloud.
  • Shred paperwork with financial info on it.

And here are 3 helpful posts from reputable sources:

But wait, what is the best way to protect ourselves from a scam?

This page is about Hanging out with God, right? So why did I take so long to get here?

I’m afraid this experience is actually an example of when I didn’t hang out with God.

Whenever I’m learning something with Him, I get attacked around that very topic and have to fight for it. Remember the audio clip near the end of the last post, the prayers for peace? 

I’ve been contending for peace by listening to the clip several times a day.

But I wasn’t spending the usual time I do sitting with God each morning. About 25 years ago, I started making as much time as I could to read the Bible, a devotional or two, and to journal the thoughts that wisp through my mind.

God showed me life works best when my dials are set right, you know, when I’m well-rested, eating healthy and full of Him.

Fuel gauge on empty.
Image by Nik on Unsplash.

Well, my dials weren’t set right.

Last week, I skipped my time with God for 5 days in a row. I know this sounds dramatic, but it’s true. By the end of the week, I laid on my bed with chest pains.

I almost forgot the best way we have to protect ourselves from a scam or anything else. And not only to protect ourselves but to have the ability to live in this crazy world filled with incredible peace that really does pass all understanding.

We can choose to hang out with God, right?

Last night I woke up several times with worries nagging at me. Each time, I felt that peace as I thanked God for taking care of them. I fell back to sleep enCOURAGEd about what we were talking about last time:

burying God’s promises inside, so they’re there when we need them

And you know what? It works!

So again, I press play on the prayers for peace audio clip:

So this, this is the best way to protect ourselves from a scam or anything else:

Is there anything you’d like to add to “the best way to protect ourselves from a scam” list?

Related Post: What Happens When You Ignore God?

And How Can I Pray for You?

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  1. All kinds of troubles in this world, right. So sorry you’ve had to deal with another kind of stress. I love that He is with you in every moment.

    “Thank you, LORD, for being our peace, the One who fights for us; the One who intercedes for us; the One who goes before us and is our rear guard; the ONE WHO LOVES US.”

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