On Jan 31, 2008, the stock markets around the world crashed and people were calling it Black Monday. A week later on February 8, 2008, I signed up for a Twitter account to see what this new social network was all about and to see if people were talking about the stock market crash. How naive of me, little did I realize that Twitter was like the town hall…EVERY DAMN THING was discussed.
At first, I just looked around and saw what people were saying. I tried to follow people I thought would be interesting to get their take on things. I first started following people in the financial markets and there were many people that were talking about finance. Then I decided to focus on technology topics and from there it snowballed into many topics and many interests.
As I got more comfortable I started to jump into the conversations and then started to Tweet my own thoughts or share an interesting news article or story. Everything was going well with my Twitter usage till July 16, 2013. That’s when I realized my Twitter handle of @mrjain got changed to something else. When I did go to my old handle of @mrjain, I saw the following Tweet:
That’s when I knew this was not good and my account had been hacked. I tried to contact Twitter support but they were absolutely useless in helping me, not even a response to my email. I knew I was screwed. I tried to send DMs to the new owner but of course nothing. So then I decided I had no choice but to pick a new handle that was similar to my old one and selected @mrjain_ (yes, a friggin’ underscore at the end!).
Over the next 10 years, I would reach out from time to time and contact the owner but all of it fell on deaf ears. Then in January 2023, I decided to call the company name that was listed on the Twitter profile and the person that picked up was Harshil who was listed on the Twitter profile. I was a bit stunned and didn’t know what to say for the first 3-4 seconds. I quickly gathered my thoughts and said I would like to have my Twitter handle of @mrjain back, he immediately said no problem and would do it.
I first thought this was a joke and he was just buying time or playing around with me. Then I explained the process of how he has to give up the handle in his account and at the same time I have to grab the handle in my account. He just got a new phone and the Twitter app was not loaded but he fired it up and was ready to do it. And within 2 minutes the handle was mine again!! I didn’t realize almost a decade had passed since I had lost the handle till this popped up on my Twitter feed:
Once everything was in order, I reached out to Harshil again and said I wanted to give him some money as a token of my appreciation…he refused. Which leads me to believe he was not the person that took my handle in the first place.
So what did I learn during this whole ordeal? Use 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) on all your accounts – email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. At first, it might seem like a royal hassle to enable it but I can tell you it’s nothing compared to getting your account hacked. It’s like backing up your data, most people don’t back up their data till they actually lose it. Again, let me restate the obvious – USE 2FA.