Wednesday, March 29, 2023

How My Google Account (Gmail/Blogger/Youtube) Got Hacked and How I Recovered It!

***pls be warned this is a very lengthy and long-winded post. 

I woke up one morning and I found that my Gmail was hacked.

This was what I saw when I checked my email. 
My heart sank. 

The hacker obviously changed my password of my Gmail. Not only that, the hacker also changed my recovery phone, secret question, recovery email.
He/she also added in security key and backup codes.

Although my Gmail is my secondary email, I was still worried because my Blogger (this blog - and YouTube account are linked with the same Google account.

Although I had neglected my blog for awhile now, but my blog had so many years of hard work/sweat.
I really did not want to lose access to it! 

There was no way for me to recover my Google account. I tried all ways, kept pressing 'Try Another Way' but I couldn't answer any of the questions after the hacker changed ALL my recovery options.

The hacker changed one of my recovery email to this/his I presumed.

And this was when I realized there isn't any Google Customer Support, no email addresses that I can send to, basically no human customer support!
Some of the emails I found on Google either didn't work or they did not reply me. 
I was really anxious and worried on how I to recover my Google account. 

I saw that some people who got hacked posted on the Google Help Communities and got help there. So I also tried posting there hoping to get there, but no one replied to my post thread. ๐Ÿ˜”
So I tried posting again the following week, as I believed my earlier post had been 'lost' between the thousands of posts every week.
And to my dismay, my 2nd post got รงlosed off for comments due to 'duplicate posting'.

I tried a few times several weeks later but it was always the same. I am being flagged for duplicate posting although I'd tried re-wording my post and all. Well, I only tried posted there again because there was no reply!

I also online chatted/emailed the GoogleOne Account customer service for help (as I have a Google Cloud paid account), as I realized Google only has customer support for paid accounts/stuff.
The customer service I got was lousy. He was no help at all and told me 1000x that the only way I could get my account back was to keep on trying the Account Recovery Page.
Obviously, I tried that 1000x before I asked for help. 
I could not answer any of the questions because the hacker changed ALL my recovery options. It was so frustrating talking to them! 

Meanwhile, I also 'stalked' some of the Youtubers/bloggers who shared how they got their account back and sent Facebook and Instagram private messages to them, hoping they will reply me. 
I also tweeted for help to @teamyoutube and some of the other individuals I found online. (when I usually don't use Twitter!)

Most of them ignored me (maybe my messages ended up in their spam?๐Ÿคท), but a few of them replied.
I began to lose hope after about 1 month+ of no real help and nothing much I could do!๐Ÿ˜ข

Then, one of them replied me saying that I needed to set my Twitter account to public, if not then @teamyoutube could not see my direct messages sent to them if my account is private! (sorry, I did not know coz I don't use Twitter much!)
This help was the first light at the very dark tunnel of mine. Thank u @subversiveasset. 
I quickly changed my Twitter account to public and sent another direct message to @teamyoutube.

I was really happy when @teamyoutube finally replied to me, and that was how I got the ball rolling!

After some verification, @Teamyoutube sent my email for me to access a special form that had me connect with the Google specialist team. 
I received the email within the hour and I was really happy that I finally had hope that I could recover back my account!

From there, I answered questions after questions for Google to verify that I am actually the owner of my account. I also needed to send proof if possible.
They asked me for my Youtube channel URL (which I did not know or have initially), asked me about my Youtube videos contents, IP addresses, etc.
I just answered as accurately and as much as I could and then prayed for the best!

After 24 hours or so, I got my Gmail account recovered! Yay!
I almost danced with joy!๐Ÿ’ƒ

This also got back my access to my blog, so double yay! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ

But not all was well yet.
My Youtube channel was still down. 
The hacker actually hacked my Gmail account to take over my Youtube Channel. They privatised all my previous videos (thank goodness they did not delete it!) and renamed my channel to 'Tesla News'.
I assumed they posted many shit videos which got them flagged and taken down for violating Youtube's impersonation policy. ๐Ÿคฃ

I appealed stating that my account was being hacked.
Now all I could do was to wait for a favourable response from them. 

And about 24 hours later, I got a message from them saying that my Youtube account has been recovered! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ

After I got back my account, besides changing my password, and re-added 2-step verification, and also added security codes etc.
As the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy!

The feeling of getting back my account after 1 month+ was like a big and heavy stone lifted from my heart! It was such a great feeling...!

I really want to thank my hubs as he was the one who helped me as much as he could and asked me not to give up.
Also special thanks to @subversiveasset for replying my fb messages. 
And super super thanks to @teamyoutube. Without this team, I would not have got the ball rolling to the recovery of my account. 
I am super thankful and very grateful to all!

So all of you reading this, please go strengthened and protect your account. You don't want to go through what I went through..... 

And now that I've got my Google account back, I have decided to REVIVE this blog of mine. 
I won't be posting frequent posts but I decided not to let it 'die'! 

And so this post is the first post of the revival of this blog.......:)
So all, Thank you for reading my revival blog post! ๐Ÿ˜„

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