How do I detect an email shipping scam?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another emailed scam arrives to remind me that it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of the curve.

Most recently I’ve been picking up emails claiming to be from Amazon, providing me with information on my order. Like, on my order I never made.

Understand, I do a lot of business with Amazon. I get most of my books through there, plus many office supplies. Anything I can’t get locally I’ll get through Amazon.

Shoot, I can order food items from there too. For those who follow this space y’all might have heard I recently moved to CA from South Carolina, and Southern delicacies are now considered foreign food. I’ll probably end up getting my yellow mustard-based barbecue sauce and Luzinanne sweet tea through them before too long.

So I know a little something about Amazon’s shipping process. This knowledge helps me to sniff out the frequent BS that filters into my inbox.

Here’s the email, as seen by my Thunderbird email reader:

Receive any email like this lately?
Receive any email like this lately?

 

Keep in mind, I didn’t order anything.

And they’re not Amazon. Check it; I have the sender’s email address circled.

So who’s unlexclusive.com?

According to my web search, nobody. A couple of sites indicate the domain name is up for sale. So forget uexclusive for a moment; they’re not important.

But they’re not Amazon. Or any other big shipper. That’s important.

Oh, yeah. There’s an attachment to this email, and I’m supposed to click it and download it. Yeah, right. If you get this email, don’t do it.

* * *

Here’s some info I got from Scam Detectors:

Fake Amazon/DHL Shipment

amazon shipping scam

How the scam works:

Amazon is one of the most widely used online retailers, with close to 300 million visitors each month. The main reason for Amazon’s overwhelming popularity is its ease of use for consumers. However, with this popularity comes a down side; scams aimed at bilking customers of the online retail giant.

The latest in phishing scams is centered on Amazon shipping notifications, involving scammers sending you an email verification of your processed Amazon order but the email contains an incorrect shipping address.

The victim is then required to click a link in the email to correct the information; when the link is clicked malware is released onto the computer or device that captures passwords or private information.

In a different variation of the scam, criminals claim to be from well-known shipment services such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx, in which they include terms such as ‘tracking notification’, tracking number’, ‘pickup date’ or ‘Processing completed successfully’. Just as in the above Amazon example, the zip file attached to the message contains malware.

DHL scam

 

Check the email domain name that came with your email. If it’s amazon.com (or whoever the legit shipper is), that’s one thing. But if it’s something else, it’s probably a scam or an effort to harvest your information or identity.

Which email address did it go to? Another dead giveaway. Email addresses are cheap; everyone’s got a bunch of ’em. I have close to a dozen myself. But only two of these addresses are associated with an Amazon account. Surprise — it’s not one of them.

For the gazillionth time, enjoy your computer. Have fun online. But watch out for those sharks in the phishing hole. Again.

#endit#

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Whatever happened to just calling in sick?

In some parts of the country, they call it “laying out” from work. That’s about what this guy in Florida did, in a most novel way.

According to KSDK Channel 5, a Hillsborough man staged a burglary so he wouldn’t have to go to work. Said he couldn’t get his wife to agree on letting him play hooky, so he tried something else.

He called 911:

Caller: My door’s wide open, my windows to my son’s bedroom are wide open. My TVs in there on the ground.

Dispatcher: Did you see anybody when you came in or is anything missing that you you can see?

Caller: I called y’all right away. All I see is the front-door wide open. Called my wife and I asked her, we did go out the front door, right? She said yes.

Dispatcher: Did you see any vehicles driving away when you were pulling up or anything like that?

Caller: On the corner, right when I pulled up, a white kind of little Honda Civic pulling away. White, it had kind of like a black fender …

It wasn’t until the cops showed up that they caught on. They saw no signs of forced entry, so they told the guy he could get in a bunch of trouble for lying to officers …

A neighbor ended up telling a local reporter, “To me, it would have been easier just to go to work. Instead, he got a ride to jail.”

Whooops.

#endit#

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More sharks in the phishing hole: Some folks never give up


Ho-hum.

Got me another one, Ethel. Another of those notes from PayPal saying my account has been temporarily blocked.

Again.

Just for grins, let’s take a look at the email to find the obvious BS. because this stuff is getting old.

 

ΡayΡal
   Unfortunately , Your account is temporarily blocked   please follow the instructions below 

    Dear ΡayΡal Customer,

    ΡayΡal is constantly working to ensure security by regularly screening the accounts in our system.
We recently reνiewed your account, and we need more information to prove your ownership .
to help us to provide you with a secure serνice.
Until we can collect this information, your access to sensitiνe account features will be limited.
We would like to restore your access as soon as possible, and we apologize for the inconνenience.

    Why is my account access limited?

    we haνe reason to belieνe that your account was accessed by a third party.
Βecause protecting the security of your account is our primary concern, we haνe limited access
to sensitiνe ΡayΡal account features.
We understand that this may be an inconνenience but please understand that this temporary
limitation is for your protection.

    How can i get my account fully restored ?

     Please follow the link below and login to your account then reνiew your account information

     Confirm now

     Sincerlye ,ΡayΡal customer department!

   

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

A couple of things come to my attention:

Here’s the horse it rode in on email address it came from:

secured@inc.pay2.com

Got that so far? Doesn’t look like a PayPal to me.

A couple of other things that in of themselves are not deal breakers, but they’re sure red flags:

Unfortunately , Your account is temporarily blocked

   please follow the instructions below

Notice the space between Unfortunately and the comma. Again, no biggie by itself, but it’s far from what a professional operation like PayPal would produce.

There are other grammatical errors, mostly in capitalization. And it’s not “sincerlye.”

This tells me this note was written by someone who does not speak English as a first language. Russian perhaps? North Korean? One of those nations that specializes in malware and computer hijacking?

After checking my firewalls, bumping up my security and all that good junk I clicked on the link. Here’s what I got:

 

Reported Phishing Website Ahead!
Chromium has blocked access to sssecu1rity.com. This website has been reported as a phishing website.
Phishing websites are designed to trick you into disclosing your login, password or other sensitive information by disguising themselves as other websites you may trust. Learn more
 Advanced

* * *

In case anyone misses it, it’s on a red background.

Now, I don’t ever advocate clicking on links like that. In fact, if you click on “confirm now” in the text of the letter, you probably need to snip your Internet connection, turn in your computer and stick with something safe. Like skydiving or something. I figured I can get away with it because a) I know what I’m doing, b) my security is extremely tight and c) I’m using Linux anyway.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention. This email came in two of my accounts (I have several). My PayPal account is only attached to one domain name. These two email accounts are under another domain name. So as far as these senders are concerned I really don’t have a PayPal account.

Hey, y’all. Watch the sharks.

# # #

First add: I covered this issue before, and it keeps coming back. You’ll find my story here.

# # #

Second add: I also ran some precautions when I wrote that. They were pretty much off the top of my head, but the original story is here. I pasted in the list below just ’cause I like you:

  • Choose your tools carefully. If you use Internet Explorer, take that icon off your desktop right now and surf with a different browser. Chromium (an open-source version of Google Chrome) is good, as are Firefox and Opera.
  • Keep that browser updated.
  • Be careful about passwords; PayPal_Andy’s advice of having a designated password for each site is highly recommended, even though I’m guilty of using the same passwords for more than one site.
  • Don’t open any attachments if you don’t know the sender.
  • Be wary of attachments from someone you know; zap it with your virus and malware protection tools before you open it.
  • I’d also be wary of links sent by email, especially when they’re shortened through bit.ly or some other service. Also be careful of links posted on your favorite social media sites; you can click on some malware real easily that way. I’ve seen malware propagate among everyone on your friends/followers lists, making them the gift that keeps on giving.
  • You do have virus protection, don’t you? You do keep it updated, don’t you? Virus protection that’s not kept up to speed is totally worthless.
  • Grab some spyware protection, too. For that I recommend Spybot Search And Destroy.
  • Be careful about using public wireless for any business involving money; it’s too easy to tap into your information that way.
  • If surfing in a public place, watch for anyone behind you or sit with your back against a wall. I know this sounds goofy, but when some lowlife is trying to grab your information the low-tech ways are often the most effective.
  • Don’t let me scare you or anything.

If you use a smartphone:

  • Guard it with your life. Even if you want to be a good neighbor and help someone in a pinch, don’t let that person “hold” your phone. It’s too easy for him to snatch it and run. Most smartphones carry way more information than you’d think, and most of it can be found in seconds.
  • Be careful about dropping or leaving your phone somewhere. Same reason.
  • I use a lanyard from an old mp3 player and attach it to my phone holster. The other end is attached to a small carabiner, which I clip onto a belt loop. The holster’s flap is closed when I’m not using the phone. That way, if the holster falls off (happens more often than I’d like to think) or someone tries to snatch it off your belt, you’d know immediately.
  • Stay aware of what’s around you, even if you’re texting or playing Angry Birds. I’ve heard of folks stealing someone’s phone while the person is using it.
  • Two words: Password protection.

# # #

Final add: For your edification and amusement, I added this video at the last minute. It seemed to fit the theme somehow. I wonder if anyone told the diver that one side of his cage is missing?

# # #

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why don’t the cool places offer senior discounts?

Can I get one with flames painted on the side?
Can I get one with flames painted on the side?

It was a chilly night, so I decided to take the bus from my office (read: the library) to my home. Not really that much of a trip; it’s just a touch over two miles. Under most circumstances, a nice bike ride.

So I threw the bike on the rack on the nose of the bus and clambered inside. Started going through my change to pay the usual fare ($1.75) when the driver said it was 85 cents to me.

Oh, really? How’s that work?

“Senior citizen’s discount,” he told me.

I’ll take it, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

It’s not so much the senior thing that bugs me. I’m 56 now, and that status is a reward for not croaking just yet despite my occasional efforts to hasten the process. I don’t mind that, but the fact the driver picked out my senior-ness so quickly was just a little much.

I’m not one of those vain types who tries to look forever young. I learned to cope with pattern baldness 30 years ago, and I finally decided to force the action by shaving the whole thing off. Just got tired of messing with it. I never minded going gray either; it looks sharp on a man.

I’m still trying to get used to bifocals, and my glasses spend more time parked on my head than on my nose. They’re useless at middle distances, like where the computer screen usually is. Plus I have a little cataract action going on, another aging thing.

My face has a few more lines and a little more sag than it used to, but that’s not an issue either.

But I make it a point to keep in shape physically and my mind from losing its edge. I love hanging around young people because I can learn a lot from them, and my energy level (fueled by espresso and bipolar disorder) remains off the charts.

I still think young, am still tech savvy, can still rock around the clock, can still leave ’em laughing, can still jam out 3,000 words standing up, and still keep a good attitude about things.

But some reminders.

A buddy told me I was in good shape for my age, and my (cantankerous) response was “for any age, pal.” Had to whip his young butt on the Palmetto Trail just to get his head straight.

But for some bus driver to pick me out so quickly …

When I turned 55 my older brother — now firmly in geezer territory at 60 — reminded me I was eligible for senior discounts at Denny’s. Gee, Rick. Thanks a pantload.

Besides Denny’s I’m eligible for these discounts at pharmacies and, yeah, the bus. And maybe a plethora of good prices through AARP, though I haven’t got around to membership yet.

But do any of the cool places offer senior discounts? Noooo.

Like, where’s my golden-age special at Guitar Center?

Why doesn’t my Web hosting company offer price breaks for people of my vintage?

Can my age get me a discount when I shop for outdoors gear at Half Moon Outfitters? Doubt it.

But I can get a good price for a walker. Just the thing for hiking the Appalachian Trail.

# # #

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Let the bad jokes begin: 1 in 10 mix phones, sex

no cellphone sign
If you start seeing this sign on headboards everywhere, you know things are getting real bad.

As if we have enough surveys kicking around in the name of pseudoscience, another one came to my attention.

I’ve already seen numbers on how many people use their cell phones at the dinner table (just plain rude) or in the head (wrong at multiple levels), but we’re getting into ridiculous territory here. Now the L.A. Times reports that one in 10 Americans use their smartphones during sex.

Already the numbers are suspect. Slice ‘em up and you’ll find that 1 in 10 admit to using their smartphones while doing the horizontal mambo. Of those, you might have a fraction who are just trying to be funny, and of course you’ll find plenty who won’t admit to such phone use. You’ll catch a few who say that’s how they talk to their spouses during sex, too (drummer does rimshot). It’s like asking a sample of Americans how many pour Jack Daniels over their Wheaties or something — one in 10 do, and another 2 in 10 ask what that tastes like.

Of course, 83.7 percent of statistics are made up on the spot. Just so you know.

It’s not like social scientists are out on the field observing this phenomenon, and they certainly won’t ask the person in flagrante dilecto if that’s Facebook, Twitter or the latest phone app he’s using. I mean, there are some limits to gathering information.

Have to admit, those smartphones are addictive. What you’re basically doing is playing with a computer you can take with you anywhere. You can check the weather, find out how many calories and trans fats are in that sweet roll you’re eating at work, catch up on the latest news or see how those Angels are doing (lost again, Pujols went hitless, bullpen puked it up, per usual). Anything you can do on a computer you can do on a smartphone.

Even back in the days when your regular flip phones roamed the earth, they were everywhere. People used them while driving. While at work when they were supposed to be waiting on customers (which always elicited very sharp words from me). At the theater, in a restaurant, wherever.

Or texting while walking. Every once in a while you catch a news story (on your phone, of course) about some guy who falls down an open manhole, texting all the way down.

Here in laid-back genteel Charleston, cell phones turned everybody into New Yorkers. That’s bad.

During my cab-driving days I often had a carload of passengers, each one talking on the phone in the back and shotgun seats. Place would sound like a call center. It’s even funnier when I got passengers from one of the container ships at Charleston’s ports; each would converse in their own languages.

At the truck yard where I once worked I saw more near-collisions in the checkout lanes because the drivers were on the phone. Many’s the time I had to walk up to the stopped truck in my lane, tap on the window and tell the driver to come out. Without the phone. Ebventually he’d come out with one of those Bluetooth receivers in his ear, with the eerie blue power light glowing as if he’s an alien. Naturally, I suspected many of the truckers were aliens.

As ugly as civilization got with cell phones, it got worse when smartphones entered the mix.

Now you can go inside any church and see the folks in their pews, smartphones out. Many are are likely following along with Scripture (you know there’s an app for that) but others are probably tweeting.

But smartphones during sex?

OK, call me a fossil, a relic right out of the old school. You’re probably right. I was once told I was 30 years behind the times (my response was that 30 years was still way too close for comfort), so despite my own love of smartphones and tech toys there are just some situations where they don’t belong.

Put sex at the top of the list. There’s nothing casual about the act, although many people seem to think it is. Something like that deserves one’s undivided attention. It’s like your partner is counting ceiling tiles, only she’s much more obvious about it. It’s like he’s talking to another girlfriend — or his spouse — or posting pictures on Facebook.

Creepy.

People like that are just begging to be slapped. To be snatched bald. To be insulted within an inch of their lives.

If, as I suspect, smartphone use during sex is just another signal that our civiliaztion is headed on a fast train to nowhere, at least there’s an upside to this. Really.

If this smartphone use cuts into their ability to procreate, so much the better.

Here’s the breakdown of where people use their cell phones. Still trying to figure out how to use one in the shower without destroying it.

 

# # #

You tell me: Well, never mind. Just. Never. Mind. I’d ask for the usual comments, but it’ll be seriously into TMI territory for me.

 

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Sidebar: Protect that computer information and thank yourself later

While writing today’s piece on yet another phishing attempt by someone claiming to be PayPal, a few things came to mind and they deserve a blog entry on their own. I’ll include them in this sidebar.

Off the top of my head, I listed a few measures you can take to protect your computer and your online information — in fact, your whole identity — from being stolen.

This gets even more important as we use the Internet for more important aspects of daily life, such as moving money around.

Most of these tips are common sense, but those are sometimes the hardest ones to remember and implement.

Here’s a sampling:


  • Choose your tools carefully. If you use Internet Explorer, take that icon off your desktop right now and surf with a different browser. Chromium (an open-source version of Google Chrome) is good, as are Firefox and Opera.
  • Keep that browser updated.
  • Be careful about passwords; PayPal_Andy’s advice of having a designated password for each site is highly recommended, even though I’m guilty of using the same passwords for more than one site.
  • Don’t open any attachments if you don’t know the sender.
  • Be wary of attachments from someone you know; zap it with your virus and malware protection tools before you open it.
  • I’d also be wary of links sent by email, especially when they’re shortened through bit.ly or some other service. Also be careful of links posted on your favorite social media sites; you can click on some malware real easily that way. I’ve seen malware propagate among everyone on your friends/followers lists, making them the gift that keeps on giving.
  • You do have virus protection, don’t you? You do keep it updated, don’t you? Virus protection that’s not kept up to speed is totally worthless.
  • Grab some spyware protection, too. For that I recommend Spybot Search And Destroy.
  • Be careful about using public wireless for any business involving money; it’s too easy to tap into your information that way.
  • If surfing in a public place, watch for anyone behind you or sit with your back against a wall. I know this sounds goofy, but when some lowlife is trying to grab your information the low-tech ways are often the most effective.
  • Don’t let me scare you or anything.

If you use a smartphone:

  • Guard it with your life. Even if you want to be a good neighbor and help someone in a pinch, don’t let that person “hold” your phone. It’s too easy for him to snatch it and run. Most smartphones carry way more information than you’d think, and most of it can be found in seconds.
  • Be careful about dropping or leaving your phone somewhere. Same reason.
  • I use a lanyard from an old mp3 player and attach it to my phone holster. The other end is attached to a small carabiner, which I clip onto a belt loop. The holster’s flap is closed when I’m not using the phone. That way, if the holster falls off (happens more often than I’d like to think) or someone tries to snatch it off your belt, you’d know immediately.
  • Stay aware of what’s around you, even if you’re texting or playing whatever brain-sucking smartphone game is hot these days. I’ve heard of folks stealing someone’s phone while the person is using it.
  • Two words: Password protection.

If you can think of any other means of protecting your information, share in the comments section. I’ll be glad to include it. Let’s watch one another’s backs.


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Sharks in the phishing hole: That email isn’t really from PayPal

smile, you son of a b!!!!
If you conduct your business online, make sure you don’t put any blood in the water …

Much of my life is automated via the Internet. I do my work, pay my bills and buy things online. Shoot, I haven’t been inside a bank in two years because all this is done over the ‘net. I even have an account with one bank that operates completely online, without a brick-and-mortar branch within sight.

This is great in most circumstances but it sure leaves me open to all sorts of security glitches.

If you’re reading this on your computer, you may be in that same boat. Of course you have an Internet connection. You might buy things online, pay your bills through the Internet or even govern your whole life through a coaxial cable or wifi connection. It’s great, it’s convenient, and sometimes it’s dangerous.

I received more confirmation of this danger the other day when I checked my email. It’s allegedly from PayPal, and it carries all sorts of dire warnings.

The email that set stuff off

Here’s the note, in its entirety but with the account ID deleted. Other than that, I kept the capitalization and spacing (this part’s important) just as you see it here:


Your account has been limited Paypal ID PP-xxx-xxx-xxx

Service@paypal.com

Identity issue PP-xxx-xxx-xxx

Please complete the attached form to verify your Profile information and restore your account access.


Personal Information Profile

Make sure you enter the information accurately, and according to the formats required.

Fill in all the required fields.

Dear customer ,

As part of our efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for the online community, we regularly screen account activity. Our review of your account has identified an issue regarding its safe use. We have placed a restriction on your account as a precaution.

To lift the restriction we will require some further information from you.

If, once we review your further information and we’re convinced that the use of your account does not present a safety risk to our service and customers, we’ll be happy to reinstate your account.

We have sent you an attachment which contains all the necessary steps in order to restore your account access. Download and open it in your browser. After we have gathered the necessary information, you will regain full access to your account.

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Very sincerely,

PayPal Review Department.


There’s an attached document that came with this note.

Did I download and open it?

Uhh, noooo … forgive this journalistic lapse, but I’m really not as dumb as I look.

Things that made me go h’mmm …

PayPal
Watch it if you get an email purporting to be from these guys.

There were a couple of red flags that went up right away.

One of those red flags was the address this email went to. I have six email addresses, and two of them (my Gmail addresses) are attached to my PayPal account. But this email went to two addresses that have nothing to do with PayPal, and both are under my ericpulsifer.com web domain.

Now understand the importance of this. PayPal uses your associated email address to make all transactions. That means if you use that service and want to send me money (hint hint) you’ll send it through the email address associated with it.

(So if you’re feeling generous, crank up your PayPal and my email address is epulsifer@gmail.com. Be sure and send it in small unmarked bills and I’ll be real happy.)

All my PayPal communications go through that one Gmail address. So to receive this email through one of my business (non-Gmail) addresses gives me pause right away.

This gets really suspicious when I get simultaneous emails to different boxes under the same domain name.

While the email’s reported sender is Service@PayPal.com (with the capitalization just as you see it here), the actual email address is security@info.com. Now, how suspicious is that?

I checked my PayPal account and found nothing even resembling the account ID number listed in the email. I do have a merchant ID number, but it’s not even close. Could be that I’m not looking in the right place, but I don’t think so. Paypal’s ID is basically your email address. Got that?

After receiving the email I checked my PayPal account right away. Everything was copacetic. I was able to access it like I always have, without restrictions. So you know the sender was trying to baffle me with BS.

Chasing the story

Being the troublemaker that I am, I ran a Google search using the phrase “paypal restore account information email” and man, did I get a pantload of results. None of them carried good news either, but it was highly educational.

Just from looking at the first page of the search results, I saw this scam has been kicking around since 2006.

According to consumerfraudreporting.com, PayPal will never send you an email without putting your name on it. In other words it will be “Dear Eric Pulsifer,” not “Dear customer.” And you can bet they won’t leave a space between “customer” and the comma in the greeting; this just tells me it’s just some guy sending these emails from some basement somewhere.

Oh, yes. According to my research, PayPal doesn’t send attachments. I know I’ve never seen one from them. Forget it.

I checked on the PayPal community forum, and found some more revealing information. Several users reported similar emails and the forum administrator, who identifies himself as PayPal_Andy (I’ll assume he’s an employee) wrote this:

First, I’d recommend running a virus scan just to make sure you didn’t pick up anything unsavory when you clicked there. If everything’s fine (or once it is), I would recommend going to PayPal and changing your password and security questions through the ‘Profile’ link. Make sure this password is brand new and you haven’t used it anywhere else and you should be fine. Just keep an eye on your PayPal account for any unauthorized charges, and if you see any, let us know ASAP.

Andy

Sound advice. It’s common sense, but you can ride with the assumption that the phisherman probably snagged some of your information before sending that email. Change your password immediately just to make sure.

By the way, Andy posted his response in August 2011, so you know this scam is an oldie but goodie. But phishers and other off-brand types wanting to access your valuable information tend to stick with a winning formula.

If you get that email …

Generally, if you have an issue with access to your PayPal account, you can do all the fixing through the actual site. They have a “resolution center” where you may or may not get immediate answers, but it’s sure a lot safer than downloading/filling out an attached form you got from some random person and sending it via email.

Consumerfraudreporting.org suggests forwarding any fraudulent PayPal email to spoof@paypal.com — which I just did as I was researching and writing this piece. Here’s what I wrote:

I received this at two separate email addresses under the same domain, and neither one is associated with my PayPal account. Smelled a rat immediately and didn’t bother to open the attachment, so I won’t pass that part along to you.

Thought you might like to know, especially if you’re counting.

Thanks,

–Eric Pulsifer

So far, no response. But let the record reflect I went through proper channels.

Despite PayPal’s somewhat squirelly reputation (every year it finds itself in the running for the most evil company by the Consumerist website), I’ve never had a problem with them. Never. I once had to send some paperwork to prove I was who I said I was, but everything was resolved quickly by phone after that. While that was inconvenient, I have to give them brownie points for taking that security step.

I also have my account set up to send me an email and a text message when I make a transaction, and this has served me well. I found out within seconds when a restaurant tried to charge my PayPal debit card twice for a meal, so after I complained to the restaurant management, PayPal fixed things on their end without me having to prompt them. I might have scared the PP out of everyone involved, but somebody had to do it.

So from my perspective I have nothing bad to say about PayPal’s customer service. They’ve always been responsive and went that extra mile with me. Maybe I’m just Texas-lucky here, but I’ll take it.

The upshot of this whole mess is, if you receive this kind of note from PayPal, don’t panic. Don’t click on any attachments because it’s not from them and it’s probably malware anyway. And if you a) get it in an email box that’s not associated with your PayPal account or b) you don’t even have a PayPal account — that’s been reported too — then you know someone just tried to pull a fast one on you.

Enjoy your computers. Keep your online experiences fun and/or profitable. Just watch out for the phishing holes; there are sharks aplenty in there.


(For more information on protecting your computer and your information, be sure and check out my sidebar here. I even covered smartphones here, including my favorite 99-cent hack that may keep you from losing your phone.)

 

 

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Do you find this photo as disturbing as I do?

image

(In case I can’t get the photo to work: http://db.tt/PXTLgJEp)

I saw this display in front of a Cricket phone store in North Charleston, SC.

Of course, this shop doubles as a clothing store, which is probably a story in itself.

Come see their Anne Boleyn collection.

# # #

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Gettin’ snarky about writing ‘for exposure’

If you’re a writer or artist of any kind, you already know the drill: Someone wants you to work “for exposure.”

Or as we call it in our language, “for free.”

And it happened again …

“I won’t mention the name of the guy, his company or his website, because that’s not important. I don’t want to send more Web traffic his way because that’s his game and I don’t want to encourage him. But he approached my writer’s group with his proposition.

“Basically his company — a media outfit from some big city Up North — owns a bunch of really choice Web domain names and he needs some content to fill his pages. Preferably quality stuff that fills a niche and brings eyeballs to his Web pages so people can then click on some ads and make his company a pantload of money. Or something like that.

“In return, the writers get “exposure.” Their stuff gets out there where it can be read.

“I don’t know what y’all call it, but I call it a scam”.

Truth be told, I had fun writing it.

Check it out in its entirety at creativeanddangerous.com.

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