When You Feel Like a Sucker

Remember those old Bugs Bunny cartoons when Bugs does something gullible and stupid and he turns into a fat, blinking lollipop?

Picture Bugs. Now picture me. Bugs. Me. Bugs. Me.

Yeah, I’m a sucker.

I really didn’t mean to be, but darn it, I’m so naive. I can’t help it. I’m a new writer and new writers love a little pat on the head and some kind words about their babies. We do. We really do. That’s why we haunt places like Goodreads or Amazon reviews, looking for those little pats that say, “Good job, brilliant author. I will now buy your backlist.”

But beware, author. There are some not so nice people out there and they will use that elusive pat on the head to get something other than a smile from you. Yeah, they want your email address so they can mine for other people’s email addresses. And this is why I am now a blinking sucker.

It all began so innocently. I sat down that evening to check my email, and what do I have in my inbox but an email from my website. Oh, wow! Some Russian woman thinks A Little Texas is all that and a bag of borsch. She loves my writing and is using it to help her learn how to speak English. She is trying so hard because she so wants to come to my country one day. Oh, and she is so moved by my writing, by my characters. All she wants is an autograph. Won’t I please bless her and send her an autograph. Awwww….ain’t that sweet? Well, yeah. But, here’s the deal. She didn’t care about my autograph. She wanted me to respond which I did, thus the blinking lollipop.

Three weeks later, my email is hacked.

They mined all the emails from all my yahoo groups. Yikes. Think about the sheer number of folks on all those loops….um, thousands. And these hackers get paid for each viable email so they copied all of them. In fact, most of my ENALR buds probably recieved some helpful spam that morning. It was horrible. I tried to change my password, but the hacker had control of my email via my computer and kept changing it to whatever password he wanted to use. So, I had to copy all my files, back up all my data, and reboot my computer. Except I didn’t have all the recovery disks. Had to wait on those. And now finally almost a week and a half later, my desk top is back functioning correctly and that hacker is in hell (okay, wishful thinking, but you feel me, right?)

So there you have it – Liz Talley is a sucker, a big blinking lollipop!

Learn from her.

So what about you? Ever been hacked? Ever felt like a blooming idiot? Please share your tales of woe and make me feel better!

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16 Responses

  1. That is great advice. I’m afraid I might have fallen for that scam EXCEPT I’m pretty sure my book isn’t in foreign countries. As far as I know, my email hasn’t been hacked. My husband’s email was. “He” sent Viagra emails to everybody on his list! *Snicker* He was so upset. I try to be very careful about links. But even with McAfee, stuff gets through.

    Sorry Liz. but I didn’t get anything from you! OR my spam filter caught it and I never saw it.

    • I’m sure you’re safe. Usually it is someone telling you she enjoyed your book, but every now and again, someone unsavory comes along to make you overly suspicious. I got suckered, but so far that’s been the only wonky letter I’ve recieved…except from some guy in jail who really just wanted commissary money.

      • How sweet. You have your first convict fan! hahahahaha

        • I know, huh? they say you haven’t really arrived until you get a letter from jail. And he didn’t really say anything about my writing…just to send money. Ain’t that bold? Well, he did say he’d draw me a pic with the paper he purchased. Oh, and that he was single.

  2. Oh no! I’m not sure any of us would have seen that as a scam, Liz.

    But, hey, I once went to one of those knife sales pitches in college. For an investment of only $300 I could start selling these awesome knife sets door to door… Um, no thanks. And seriously, who’s going to let in a stranger who’s wielding knives??

    • OMG Gwen. That’s hysterical.

      Why, sure stranger! C’mon in with all those sharp knives. hang on, let me get MY GUN first! BRAWAHAHAHAHA

    • LOL. So true. Who came up wiht that idea? Let’s hire people to go door to door with knives…hope they at least did a background check. Can you imagine the lawsuit when a sociopath gets arrested on murder charges and says, “Well, they gave me the knives.”?

      Oh, man.

    • Too funny, Gwen! Oh, the looks you’d get. 😉 Hmmm…there’s a storyline in there somewhere. LOL

  3. Liz, what a nightmare! I would have fallen hook line and sinker for that one too. 😦 I can’t believe people sit around all day thinking this stuff up. so far I haven’t been hacked, but I did click a button that totally screwed up my laptop beyond repair. Thank goodness all the important info was backed up. I’m still fuming about that one! Hackers, spammers, virus makers, get a life people!

  4. I think it might be a good idea to link my website to a sole e-mail address that’s not used for anything else, and then make sure I reply to anyone using that same address. Then they can’t access anything else.

    There, Liz, don’t feel like a sucker. You were doing research to help protect your fellow authors. 🙂

    Many years ago, I had a job for a very small ad agency. The receptionist/office manager left for another job, so they had me answering phones. (I’d only been there about three months). Someone called and said they were verifying the model number of our copier. I verified. Then they called later to confirm shipment of the copy toner. Since I had never previously been involved in office supply stuff, I assumed that was standard procedure and said okay. They shipped it and tried to charge over $400 for it. Luckily, the person who’d left had come back and she refused. She took it all the way to the California Attorney General.

    For YEARS after that, any time someone called and wanted to verify the copier’s model number, I said, “Yeah, I’m not that stupid.” The “anymore” stayed in my head. LOL

    • Thanks for making me feel better. Yes, this is a public service. LOL.

      Your inclination to have your website linked to an email you answer that is not associated with anything else is a good one. I might have to do that myself. Much of my problems come from my being lazy. Like using the same password for multiple accounts. Not smart. Had to change many of them.

  5. so glad you finally got this worked out! what a mess.

    I was hacked–but it was NOTHING Like this. a pain, but not like yours. my twitter has been hacked 2 times? 3? maybe I’m up to 4 now. I have no idea. everyone wants in on my horns, I guess. but twitter is rather simple. I’m not sending out crazy emails everywhere.

    • True. I really hated that the spam went out to so many people. Lots! But spam filters did their jobs. Most told me that’s where they found my little oopsie!

  6. I would most definitely have fallen for that one! I’ve never been hacked, and I try not to click on anything iffy. But that one would have pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. Lots of suckers in this bunch though, so I’m in good company.

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