Hackers take control of Pa. woman's online ID

ABINGTON, Pa. - December 29, 2010

Billie Bakhshi said it began recently when she tried to log on to Facebook, but couldn't get in. So, she tried to reset her password.

"But the hacker changed that. They changed the email address on Facebook so that the retrieval is being sent directly to the hacker instead of to me," Billie said.

She then found out her AOL account was also wiped out.

That's when she got a strange call.

"I got a phone call from a friend who said 'Are you okay? I didn't know you were in Wales!" said BIllie. "I said 'What?!"

Whoever stole her social network identity was emailing her friends and family, saying she on vacation overseas, in danger and needed money. The message read, in part, "I am writing this out of frustration and pain - we got mugged last night..."

So, how can you prevent something like to from happening to you?

Paul Sheppard, the CEO of a2b Technologies in Abington says, first, arm yourself with anti-virus software to keep hackers hands off your online world.

"If you get infected by one of these keyloggers, it sends the keystrokes, including your bank accounts and logins," Sheppard said.

Facebook also recently updated its security options giving users the ability to add a second email address or a mobile number, making it virtually impossible for anyone to change your password without you finding out, or shutting you out completely.

Speaking of passwords, there is one way to make it harder for hackers to get in.

"A strong password is 8 characters or more, using uppercase, lowercase, numbers, non dictionary words," said Sheppard. He also recommends using different passwords for each account, changing them frequently and never opening a link or attachment you don't recognize.

"It actually gives someone remote control access to your computer," he said.

Sheppard also says Bakhshi took the right recourse by filing a police report. She's still waiting to see if her content or accounts can be restored, but says for now, she's staying offline.

"I am not sure I want to open myself up to that again," Billie said.

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