Without knowing it, Pascal and Regine Bonnin were inviting people to their bed.
Their business e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, was hacked. The password and security protections were changed by an unknown person last December.
They tried getting some help from Google, but were offered none.
The hacking could mean a serious blow to their residential and commercial painting business. They advertised their e-mail in the Yellow Pages.
But a few months after they were shut out from their account, they learned the hacker was selling much more than paint jobs.
A friend used the e-mail to see if the Bonnins were willing to paint a kitchen and a bedroom.
The reply, which was signed under Pascal’s name, took the potential customer by surprise.
“Are you up for a threesome with my wife? Deal or no deal?” says the reply e-mail.
“Maybe we are having a communication problem,” writes the confused customer. “I am asking if you are available for a painting job (you and Regine painted part of my house last summer).”
“What do you mean by a ‘threesome with my wife. Deal or no deal?’ This seems like an odd reply.”
The hacker was undeterred.
“No communication problem. I ask you to have sex with my wife in exchange for painting your house.”
The Bonnins were soon given the heads-up by their friend. In all, they discovered about six sexually explicit replies from the hacker.
“If it’s a male (customer), they just tell the person to go away,” says Pascal. “If it’s a woman, they write stuff like this.”
The Bonnins have since set up a new e-mail, email@example.com. Northwestel is much easier to get a hold of if your e-mail has been hacked, said Pascal.
“It wasn’t funny when we found out about it,” said Regine.
The police told the Bonnins there’s nothing they can do about the hack.
“I haven’t seen a thing like that come across my desk in the last little while,” said Cpl. Randy Reed, who manages digital fraud and identity theft in the RCMP’s corporate division in Whitehorse.
“It sounds to me like this guy was just doing it for yucks,” said Reed.
The most popular fraud being committed in the Yukon right now are urgent money requests sent from people posturing as friends.
A virus will hack into an e-mail address book and send out an e-mail impersonating the user. An urgent request for money is usually accompanied by an elaborate story about why the user ran out of cash in a foreign country.
Similarly, the Bonnins’ problem sounds like it began with a virus opened in the e-mail account, said Reed.
“It probably comes down to issues in e-mail with virus scanning,” he said.
People should always have an up-to-date virus scanner that includes coverage for e-mails, he said.
Strong passwords for both e-mails and wireless routers are also key, he said.
“I can’t tell you how many people use password as their password.”
Contact James Munson at