Long story short, my account is back under my control thanks to the Blizzard billing guys and a few account security answers. Sephy is, unfortunately, down most of her armor, all of her items, her bank is cleaned out, and she cleaned out the guild bank. Now I'm to submitting a ticket to the GM and getting all of that restored via that system.
However, I certainly learned some things from this morning's experience.
If you're an officer, step down before you leave the game for a while -- And I'm talking about giving up permissions here, not stepping down in name. My account was probably a ripe target because I haven't logged in in 3 months. My inactivity gave them an opening to hijack my account, and my status in the guild lead to the guild bank getting hit. If I had just given up my officer permissions, that would have been avoided.
Keep some friend's contact numbers -- One of the reasons I jumped on this hacking as fast as I did was my friend calling me and telling me what was going on. If he hadn't called me, I wouldn't have pursued this as fast as I did, and I may have missed it entirely if the gold farmer would have changed my account's e-mail address. So, if you can, keep some contact information from the members of your guild. You never know when it will come in handy.
"As for the gold farmer out there who hacked my account, well, he assigned a Visa credit card to my account to pay for the month."
Change your password regularly -- It took them 3 months of inactivity to get into my account. Who knows when they got my password, but I bet if I had changed it regularly, I would have aided in preventing this. Change your password every once in a while, just to keep things fresh and keep the hacker's data out-of-date.
Keep your computer clean -- Unfortunately my line of work means that I sometimes go to some unsavory gaming websites just to get information on them so I can get information to you. Somewhere along the line, I probably got infected with a keylogger, and that's entirely my fault. Even with my vigilant anti-virus program running and my sweeps of Ad-Aware and being careful when I went to these websites, I wasn't able to get this bugger off of my system. But all of this just means I'm going to have to be more careful with where I go and how I keep my computer clean. I pass all of this knowledge along to you -- just because you're vigilant doesn't mean you're invulnerable to hacking.
I worked for a free month of Warcraft
Sure, all of this is a severe pain, but luckily because I jumped on it so quickly and because Blizzard is prepared for these things, it shouldn't be a gigantic problem.
As for the gold farmer out there who hacked my account, well, he assigned a Visa credit card to my account to pay for the month. I changed up all of the data in my account... but I don't think I'm going to be removing that credit card just yet. Enjoy that upcoming 77.00 dollar charge, Mr. Account Hacker! I know I certainly will! (Edit -- Yes commenters, I am being sarcastic.)
Colin Seraphina Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who has a free six months of World of Warcraft coming up. When she's not writing here for Massively, she's rambling on her personal blog, The Experience Curve. If you want to message her, send her an e-mail at colin.brennan AT weblogsinc DOT com. You can also follow her on Twitter through Massively, or through her personal feed, @sera_brennan.