A Durham woman’s Tesla account was hacked. Experts say the situation could happen to anyone. :: WRAL.com | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware

— Teslas are known for their cutting-edge technology, but a Durham woman says her account with the company was hacked and an expensive car charger was purchased with her credit card on file.

While not everyone owns a Tesla, experts say the situation could have happened to anyone with an online account that has a credit card connected to it.

Megan Colonel has made preserving the environment into a career.

“I’ve been working in the renewable energy industry since I graduated from N.C. State,” said Colonel.

That’s why Colonel said buying an all electric Tesla felt like a natural choice.

“I’ve wanted to own a Tesla for a really long time,” she said.

In March of last year, she got one and with it, the online account that helps manage the cars features and lets owners buy accessories.

Earlier this month, Colonel said she noticed a $550 charge from Tesla on her credit card statement. She checked her Tesla account.

“When I went to, you know, my past orders, I saw a Tesla wall charger that I did not buy,” said Colonel.

When she looked closer, she realized someone made changes to her profile.

“The name on the account, the email address had changed away from my email to an email that looked like my name, but it was spelled wrong,” Colonel explained.

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That meant she didn’t get the receipt email that would have alerted her to the charger purchase.

This is a problem several Tesla owners have reported on message boards over the last year. People breaking into online Tesla accounts and using credit cards on file to make high-dollar purchases, many of them wall chargers.

“So, that made me pretty worried,” Colonel said.

But, Colonel caught her issue quickly enough that a call to her local Tesla service center got her control of her account back and a refund.

Now she’s stepped up security on her account with multi-factor authentication — something she said wished she knew was available earlier.

“Now it feels a lot safer,” said Colonel.

Colonel suspects the password used to break into her Tesla account was compromised in a data breach involving another company.

5 On Your Side reached out to Tesla multiple times for comment on Colonel’s issue and the other similar issues that owners are reporting online, but Tesla did not respond.

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