It’s not even winter yet, but I’m feeling a little sumpin’ coming on. Sometimes you get a virus. Sometimes it’s just a nagging hack. Mine’s a full-blown hack, and no purple, non-drowsy-stuffy-nose-itchy-eyes medicine will cure this one.
I was alerted by my bright ‘n bushy-tailed neighbor – who wakes at the buttcrack of dawn to drive a school bus – announcing on my voicemail that my email account was hacked into and she was getting a message saying I was in the UK, had been mugged and needed money…pronto! Damn hackers. Normally, I would roll back under my covers and worry about it after getting a little more beauty sleep. But then it dawned on me. “Self,” I says, “You’re gonna have a long day filled with phone calls or emails by well-meaning friends, wanting to know what happened and how they can help. Suit up!”
I immediately rushed to my computer to do my virtual duty of changing my password, as they warn you to do when first setting up an account. Silly me. I ignored their advice like a teenager ignoring sage advice from a parent, rolling my eyes and saying under my breath, “Blah, blah, blah….”
I could just hear the Hotmail IT staffer in India giggling in his cubicle, saying, “We got another one, Sunesh!! Neener, neener…told ya so!”
I resorted to cutting and pasting my response in anticipation of the many messages I was going to receive, and I included these tip-offs that it was a scam:
Tip-Off #1: I never sign my name “Catherine.” I only use that name for professional business responses, job interviews, street walk…oh, never mind.
Tip-Off #2: They didn’t send instructions about sending the funds. Trust me. I would have provided you with not only my address, but my direct deposit bank account number, a Fed Ex account number, my bra size, AND my first-born.
Tip-Off #3: The letter was replete with grammatical mistakes. (Notice I used a big word, like “replete,” which they didn’t do.) I don’t think they use that term in the Bronx..they would say “full-ah.” I am a third-generation Grammar Nazi. It just wouldn’t happen.
Tip-Off #4: I’m unemployed, ya putz. I can barely afford a manicure. What makes you think I’m sipping tea in the UK with the Queen Mother? AND I hate flying these days, and Amtrak doesn’t go to the UK. So, unless Sir Paul McCartney invites me personally to his ivy-covered cottage in the country, it ain’t me, bloke.
But I always try to look at the glass half full. Yes, I spent two hours trying to change my password. Seems the hacker changed all my security settings – things like my date of birth. Apparently, I am 18 years old and I’m from New York. (Meh, it could be worse – they could have put New Jersey. Bring it, Snooky.)
So the positive, half-full lesson I learned is that I now know who my real friends are. I had people willing to Skype with me and show me their credit card numbers to help out. Friends I haven’t talked to in years called me, and we chatted and got caught up. All but only a few of my family members jumped to my aid. (If you didn’t, you know who you are, and you’re out of my will.)
I was just discussing with a friend how disturbing it is these days when you are on trains, planes and automobiles and nobody is talking. Everyone is now detached – plugged into an Ipod, their computers, their cell phones or their Kindles. Just today I watched a woman riding bikes with her young son, but she was yakking away on her phone and junior was wobbling helplessly behind her. I almost went into hit-a-bitch mode, but I really liked her bike.
I may just respond to my hacker…I mean myself…whatever…and thank him or her for their timely lack of judgment. Instead of telling them to get a life and stop inconveniencing mine, or that I’m sending Uncle Nunzio to pay them a visit, I may just ask them if they’d like to go have a spot of tea.
But the next time you get a similar message from me, hopefully I’ll be getting mugged in Italy. No, really, it will be me. Send money care of the American Embassy.
I love me some gelato.