What to do if your poker account has been hacked

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First of all, don’t panic and clear your schedule for the next several hours. Be prepared for the fact that you will likely not get your money back. Take screenshots of as much as possible.

1. Try to log into your poker account. If the hacker hasn’t changed your password yet, or if he gained control through another method, such as a man in the middle attack, you will able to lock the hacker out. Immediately change your password and e-mail address. If the hacker has a keylogger, he will still have your new password. To prevent him from chip dumping your money, you should self-exclude yourself for a day or a week. That means no poker for that period of time, but it means no poker for the hacker either.

2. Send an e-mail to support with “URGENT: HACKED” in the title. Ask them to immediately freeze the account from playing, transferring or withdrawing. If the site offers live chat or phone support, do that as well.

3. If you cannot access your e-mail because the hacker has taken control of that as well, use a different e-mail account and send a message with the information from step #2 PLUS an explanation of why you are using a different e-mail, as well as proof that you are in fact the account owner. Mention all your account details, as well as what IP address you normally play from, how much money was in your account when you last had control of it and anything else you can think of that helps corroborate your story.

4. Go to PokerTableRatings and see who the hacker has been playing. Make note of the players that your account is losing to. Also, use the poker client’s find player feature to search for yourself in types of poker that are not tracked by PTR.

5. If the opponent is playing outside of his normal stakes or if there appears to be collusion, send another e-mail to support with this information.

6. If the opponent appears to be a legitimate regular who is not associated with the hacker and the play is ongoing, go onto the poker site and talk to the other player in chat and tell him he is playing against a hacked account and ask him to sit out. If the money in your poker account is lost by the hacker to players who are not in cahoots with him, it will not be returned.

7. Make a thread on 2+2 in the Internet Poker forum and sending a PM to an applicable poker site representative is a good idea. Be clear, complete and polite. You will likely be told what I am telling you here, but it can’t hurt to try. Plus, some of the more helpful posters will assist in doing some of the detective work.

8. Figure out how this happened and rectify the problem. If you still have your e-mail account, look through the filters to make sure that no one has been secretly forwarding your mail. Run Spybot S&D and your anti-virus software to look for malicious software. Think about any shady software you installed recently or who has had physical access to your computer lately. Is your Wifi unprotected? You will probably have to reformat your hard drive to be sure that there are not any rootkits lingering. If you aren’t a tech person, the posters in your thread from step #7 should be able to help you out with this. Just be sure to thank them, even if you don’t get your money or account back.

9. Gather all the evidence you have, screenshots, screen names, country and IP of hacker (if the poker site gives it to you) and report it to the police. This does not apply if you live in a third world country or if online poker is illegal in your country. Even if the police tell you that you can’t do much, later on there may be insurance or tax benefits of reporting the crime.

Good luck! Also, check out my post on short stack play.

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