Securing Peace of Mind: Pamela’s Triumph Over Digital Threats

Woman with mobile phone, reflecting.

Pamela – contacted Citizens Online as her email had been hacked and unauthorised emails were being sent out to all her contacts.  This is typically referred to as “email phishing.” The aim is to trick the recipient of the spam email into disclosing their personal information or asking them to click on a suspicious link.  

Pamela Takes Control

We checked Pamela’s email address for a security breach on the ‘Have I Been Pwned’ website, which confirmed that the email had been compromised.  So, we set about changing passwords to more secure ones, changing any accounts with the compromised email address such as her bank accounts and council tax etc., and setting up two-factor authentication where it was available.  

After the support from us we discussed Pamela’s thoughts and feelings. When asked, how did it make you feel when you realised your email had been hacked and how do you feel now, she replied – “The feeling is, you don’t know how far the reach of compromising your privacy is because they did alert my family, they did alert my Council tax and resuscitated contacts I had 25 years ago. It’s impossible to get the full measure of the disturbance caused and the disruption of peoples peace of mind. So I find our sessions particularly useful and vital handrail to be able to get a better perspective on what I can do and what I don’t need to worry about.” 

Pamela recounted a previous “loss of her digital life” – “I had clicked the wrong button and it took many days to put right so I was gutted and when this latest event happened and I was overwhelmed by spam. I didn’t want to communicate. I didn’t want to make things worse for friends and my people – it really is a drowning sensation. When my friend alerted me to having been spammed, she told me to change my password, and I did that but I didn’t feel that I was doing things in a water tight way. When I was able to contact you through Triodos Bank, I felt that we were really putting security in place and I understood why and how, instead of getting myself all tied up in knots.” 

Through the support, Pamela has developed good digital behaviour and hygiene and feels her digital competency has improved significantly – reducing feelings of being overwhelmed and empowering her to navigate the digital world with confidence. She commented “As a freelance linguist. I recognised this as a language I’ve never spent time learning, so you have helped me focus on the key concepts and the key words. You suddenly open this world of digital hygiene or really good digital behaviour, step by step. It’s like the building blocks of a new language and I find that it helps the flow.” 

Being able to engage confidently in the in the digital world without fear has given Pamela control “I won’t be forced to retire because of what happened to me. I can choose to consider because I’m in control. That’s very important.” 

What Our Support Has Meant

Pamela expressed her gratitude for the support received and said “I think it has been empowering. First of all, it’s taken away the fear, because I was fearful that my privacy was being compromised. We put the two-factor authentication in place and that really allayed my fears. And then we got on to more fine tuning of bits and pieces. And I’m still going through that. Just to do the spring cleaning of my digital life, it’s helping me to get into better habits.” 

Overall, Pamela considers the time spent receiving support from Jackie at Citizens Online as extremely valuable, “Well, it’s been time extremely, extremely well spent and that is very satisfying. And it gives you peace, peace of mind. It really does.”