Still more sharks in the phishing hole: That PayPal email scam sure gets around

smile, you son of a b!!!!
This online phish is predatory, but it’s not that smart. Still …

I know. I’ve written about it before, but it just won’t go away.

In a blog called Miraculous Ladies I saw another account of the infamous PayPal email scam that just keeps bugging me. Here’s the gist of it:

I received an email from PayPal yesterday afternoon. It was about a restriction on my account. While reading the email and noticed two things. First, their email address was Secondly, I spotted grammar mistakes. Alarm bells rang!

I logged into my PayPal account. There were no messages about my account being restricted.

– See more at:

That’s the main stuff here. She outlines things to watch out for, which is really useful stuff.

I’ve written extensively about this myself, as I’m sure you know:

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

and …

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

This begs the question. Just what is this card-carrying member of the Testosterone-Toting club doing on the Miraculous Ladies site?

Linkedin, of course. Got the link from there. So if you’re on LinkedIn you’ll see the discussion.

Anyway, you know the deal. Watch out when you surf. You could be sharing waves with something predatory.


Talk to me: Have you run across this email yet? Have you clicked on that link yet? What were you thinking?








Elsewhere: Let ’em finish … like, projects?

Let ‘em finish: Completing a project sure beats starting one

Let 'em finish already!

Let ‘em finish already!

There’s a road sign I often see in South Carolina. It’s posted wherever there’s a road project, and it admonishes drivers to watch their air speed. I guess law enforcement takes this stuff seriously:


Because I’m so easily amused I usually read that out loud when I pass one of those signs.

However, as proof positive that I’m so easily amused, I’ll add my own punchline:


That’s because road crews — or more correctly the political entities that control them — are not always that good about completing a project.

Of course I know absolutely nothing about that. Of course I always finish what I start. Of course I’m lying like an old hound dog in the sun.

I’ve already written about my multiple uncompleted projects. Their name is legion for there are many. But talking to other creative types — especially those with more than one talent — should make me feel better. At least I’m not the worst kiddy in this schoolhouse.

But this finishing stuff. That’s so cool. A rush. Even better than having another brilliant idea. But getting to that completion point is just too much like work … (more)

(There’s more in creative&dangerous … check it out.)


Elsewhere: After finishing a good work, things can get uglier

After finishing a good work, things can get uglier

“Have you ever had a moment where you knew you made it, that you’ve reached all your goals? If I do, just take me behind the barn and shoot me. If I ever reach that point I’ve made it, then what do I do next? … success scares me even more than failure.”

– Karen Watts, in B.I.C. Cartel

Who would have thought finishing something or doing a great work can be a trigger?

Apparently so.

I got into a debate with some co-workers about fears a few years ago. Actually it didn’t start as a debate until I made it so; I do have that effect.

But in our discussion I mentioned a fear of success.

It’s not just a fear of getting there, but a fear that comes when you actually finish a great work.

That’s when I look down from my perch. It’s loke the feeling I get from looking at a Peter Kaplan photo (check that out sometime if heights don’t trigger you). My stomach drops, my hands get all weak and sweaty, I step away from the railing. Far away.

It’s a long way down.

There’s no way I can stay up there.

Got to get down sometime because there’s no way I can sustain this.

There’s no more up, only down …

There’s more at Good Morning Manic Depression (Are You Going To Behave Yourself Today?)


[From B.I.C. Cartel blog] Will I freeze when I hit Publish?

It's what's inside that counts.
It’s what’s inside that counts.

So I’m getting ready to publish B.I.C Cartel. I mean the full version, and not just the wimpy ol’ part-by-part release. I mean the whole thing.

I get asked this a lot: What’s that like?

Best answer I can give is to let the characters tell it. Karen Watts is getting ready to publish her first novel “Desert Secrets” on Amazon. Her friends are there to help her, to cheer her on and to keep her from bonking out at a late stage. You can check out the dialogue and all the encouraging words here.

I sure hope the publishing process isn’t nearly that hard for me, but you can bet it will. It’s all good news, though. I’m committed to this thing (or maybe I should be committed). Provided I don’t find a handy excuse Part III and the full version of B.I.C. Cartel comes out March 3.


[From elsewhere] Knowledge is power, but unbalanced reading can trigger things

This was posted in another one of my blogs, Good Morning Manic Depression. OK, I wrote the thing. anyway, it’s highly-recommended stuff, especially if you’re one of those bookworms:

Okay, yeah, there's also that ...
Okay, yeah, there’s also that …

I think it was some guy named A. Nonymous who said libraries were a hospital for the brain. Smart guy, that Mr. Nonymous.

By inference, this means reading. Lots of it. Reading is good for the brain, it takes you places you’ve never been and you’ll learn a lot of cool stuff. It’s also healing.

I’m reading an article by Victoria Maxwell in BPHope right now, and she touches on the same subject.

Here’s what she says:

…bibliotherapy: reading books to help to cope with and heal from mental, physical, emotional and/or social issues. The UK’s Reading Agency which runs the Books on Prescription program states there’s “strong evidence self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, sometimes on its own or with other forms of treatment”. This has been my experience …

She included her reading list, and … well, check out her post and decide for yourself …

Anyway, check the article out.




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


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


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


   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:

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 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

* * *

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 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?

# # #









50 business cliches that really need to die

I like this. Found it through Twitter, and it’s worth the price of admission. Too many business types fall on these weasel words/phrases that, if they meant anything once they sure don’t now.

Here’s a sample:

1. Actionable. An actionable item is one you can take action on. Whether the action is desirable is another story. For that reason, an item may be more clearly described as practical, useful, realistic or workable.

2. Around. Don’t have a discussion around an issue; have a discussion about an issue.

3. Balls in the air. Sound less like a carnival act and more like a business professional by saying that you are busy or have several projects underway.

4. Best of breed. “Of breed” adds nothing to “best.” Just say you’re the best.

5. Big bang for the buck. A sleazy fast-talker’s way of saying this or that product or service has exceptionally high value.

How about, if I hear this verbiage around me I must start slapping someone. Unless I’m the one using these putrid phrases, of course. Do as I say, not as I do.

The author, Brad Shorr, listed his original 50 chunks (as in blowing chunks) of jargon here. Not necessarily more objectionable, but obvious enough that he thought of those before he did the second batch.

They’re bad. They all need to be put to death.

# # #


Cop a squat? Or should I rephrase that?

My knees scream just thinking about it.
My knees scream just thinking about it.

I’ve heard of standing desks and treadmill desks, but a squatting desk?

Not kidding. According to an article in Fast Company, squatting allows us to rest while on our feet. It’s a Zenlike thing, or is it Yogalike? Anyway, it evokes images of green tea and all that good stuff.

Here’s what blogger Feyyaz Alingan (figures) said about squatting:

“It’s a posture that most of the West has lost its ability to do–tight hips and tight achilles due to spending our days in desk chairs might be the culprit–whereas folks in East and South Asia do it on the regular.”

Supposedly, squatting opens my hips, which prevents lower back pain. Or something.

I didn’t know I had a problem with closed hips. I wouldn’t know the difference between an open or closed one anyway.

But I do know this. Just squatting to get to the lower shelf at the supermarket hurts. My knees give me trouble. My Achilles tendons start hurting. It takes me at least a week to get back up. Maybe it’s part of being in my late 50s, but I am in shape.

About the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt is my hips. So maybe there’s something to this squatting thing.

My hiking buddy is in his late 40s, also in shape and a medical professional besides. We discussed this article on a seven-mile training hike the other day, and he says he can’t see the benefits either.  Maybe it helps you give birth, he suggested

That’s not something I plan to do anytime soon. I’m too old for that anyway.

So the squatting desk, you can have it. I’m not going to put my laptop on a bench and squat at it. Forget that. I’d rather sit in a chair, and I’m not the sitting-down type.

Now, give me a standing desk any time. I have one, or at least it’s modified for that. A wine crate, a sheet of particle board nailed to the top to accommodate the mouse, and the extension keyboard is on another platform about waist high to me. Perfect. Ergonomically sound. It worked for Hemingway, and it’ll work for me too.

When I do my work at a McDonalds or Starbucks, I’ll shove the chair aside and set up shop on the counter. I’ll pull two-hour work sessions and stand up the whole time. Keeps me focused and gives me the feeling I’m going somewhere.

Standing desks are red hot right now. I see one from GeekDesk that looks pretty bare-bones to me. Looks like a glorified folding table, and it’s all yours for $525. For the frame. As far as a top, you’re on your own.

(H’mmm … about that squat again?…)

There are some DIY versions shown in Make Use Of, starting at around $40. Depending on which one you build, you’re using sawhorses or anything else. (Hey, sawhorses … now that’s an idea.) Here are a few more if you don’t mind the hipster look.

A treadmill desk, though, is a different matter. Trying to keep fingers on keyboard is dicey enough anyway, but it’s worse at a treadmill. Plus trying to watch the screen while my eyeballs are going up and down doesn’t sound very effective to me, exercise or not.

Squatting, forget it. I’ll stand, thank you.



Unnatural selection: The back seat was fine, the garage was fine, but …

… somehow you knew this was going to end badly.

It’s early February and The Column already has its first nominee for the 2014 Darwin Award. Keep ’em coming, folks (or not).

Daily Caller life tip: Don’t have sex in a garage with the car running