HAMPTON, Va (WAVY) – Heather Young was looking for some sun exposure when she took her library card outside to renew some books online. What she got was too hot for the Hampton mom to handle.
“I have five kids and I could just imagine if they had seen it instead of their mom,” she said.
An adult toy store is not what she wanted to check out.
“I thought maybe I put in the wrong address so I double-checked, triple-checked and it was still sending me to the same page and it had explicit content.’
Young messaged the library and got a response apologizing and telling her IT was working on it.
She also reached out to 10 On Your Side. We wanted more than the cliff notes version and went to the city to get the full story.
“It’s embarrassing! This is not something the city of Hampton ever wanted to do,” Hampton Communications Strategist, Robin McCormick told us.
McCormick just learned about the issue from 10 On Your Side. From what she’s gathered so far, the library has been quietly dealing with this for quite a while.
“We converted the site to Hampton.gov/100/libraries about 10 years ago,” she said.
The library liked its old site name and continued to use it because the city kept the old URL. Whenever people typed it in, they were automatically sent to the new site.
Then, about a year ago, the villain entered the story. McCormick says according to the domain registration company, someone posed as a city employee and stole the former URL without the city knowing it.
“I don’t want to point any blame, I’m just a mom who wants this gone,” Young said.
A sticker now covers up the naughty site on any newly issued library card while the city works to write an ending suitable for all ages.
In a response from the City of Hampton, officials say they were “never notified” of what occurred.
Read the statement from the City below:
We learned today from a WAVY reporter that the old web address now goes to a retail site that you don’t want your kids to see — and may not want to see yourself. Our research so far shows that someone impersonated a city employee, contacted our domain registration company, and transferred the old URL. We were never notified. Bring your library card to any Hampton branch library, and they will put a sticker on it with the correct website. (Also maybe take possession of your kids’ cards until you can do that, as this story is making headlines and kids are curious.) Hampton apologizes for this, but please know we were also duped or hacked. No one connected with the city had anything to do with this.City of Hampton
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