Courtney Burch Arkeen’s, 128th District judge in Orange County, personal e-mail was sabotaged over the weekend. She now plans to change her password and update her e-mail more often and get a better virus protector and firewall. RECORD PHOTO: David Ball

Courtney Burch Arkeen, 128th District Court judge in Orange County, knew something was amiss when friends and associates began contacting her, concerned for her safety.

“People were asking me if I was okay. If I was in London. These were from other lawyers, judges and businesspeople I know,” she said. “It’s nice to know so many care about me. I’ve talked with some people I haven’t spoken with in years because of this.”

Arkeen had her personal e-mail account hacked over the weekend. In the bogus e-mail sent out, it reads: “I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, my family and I came down here to London, United Kingdom for a short vacation. unfortunately, we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed, all cash, and credit card were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

We’ve been to the Embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in few hours from now but we’re having problems setting the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Well I really need your financially assistance. Please, let me know if you can help us out?

Am freaked out at the moment!!

Courtney Arkeen”

Arkeen was in Texas the entire time period and not overseas. She added she has no idea who would have hacked her e-mail.

On top of that experience, she also lost all of her contacts.

A message labled from Yahoo! Mail read: “Due to the congestion on our server, we regret to announce to you that all unused accounts will be shut down permanently.

You will have to confirm your Yahoo! Mail account.”

“It’s been a nightmare. I called AT&T and Yahoo. They told me they would start some kind of criminal investigation. I couldn’t send out e-mails to warn them (her contacts). It was scary. What if it was my work e-mail?” she said.

Arkeen has switched providers since the fiasco. She hopes this experience can prevent others from going through the same “nonsense.”

She will now change her password every three months and call her provider before she updates for security reasons. She’ll also get a very good virus protector and firewall.