About Me

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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.


Friday, January 23, 2009

When you give an inch, Herod takes a mile...

Thursday seemed momentous but actually a lot of little things happened. I worked out at the gym, completed a post (I'm still outraged!), had an appointment with Cheryl, also got a pedicure (Nantucket Mist on the toenails), finished The Hour I First Believed (this book makes me want to write -- I really 'lived in it' -- kind of hard to adjust out of it, actually), and then last night I got an email allegedly from AOL that told me I needed to 'update' my account information and if I didn't, my service would be suspended.

That brought me pause, stopped me in my proverbial tracks. First of all, I don't have an AOL account, although I retained the address when I switched to another server. Secondly, AOL was always very clear that they would NEVER request personal information online. The form I was to fill out was unbelievably thorough, including credit card verification numbers, my mom's maiden name, my passwords for my internet accounts and bank. When I clicked on the various AOL-typed icons around the site, they all came up "Site not available" -- another red flag. How easy (and remarkably stupid) it would have been for me to give them all that info. I clicked on "Report Spam", hoped I'd never see their message again and that AOL would, and that big, heavily armed, scary, hairy men and women would raid their lair and arrest them all.

What is really frightening is how naive I am. I'm the last one to see a scam. I think Bernard Madoff looks like such a nice man -- those cute cheeks, and that innocent twinkle in those calculating eyes. (Not like Ann Coulter who just looks nuts.) In my personal journey, I have had to learn the hard way that evil sometimes looks so beautiful, so friendly, so caring and honest. I'm not alone; sometimes we all trust too easily, too readily. In the words of James Taylor in "Home by Another Way," "Herod's always out there, he's got our cards on file... A king who would slaughter the innocents will not cut a deal for you." We all need to take heed.


Brad said...

There's a simular Paypal scam out there too. Much like this one.

The people who put these out there better get their own little corner of hell, cuz I ain't sharing mine with them.

Jay said...

I was on AOL back in the day. When I decided to get rid of it, I had my credit card company cancel that card and send me a new one with a new number, just to be sure.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I get that AOL scam all the time. And a similar one allegedly from Chase bank. And ebay, except that i've never once traded on it. And numerous banks I've never even heard of except that my accounts sith them are about to close. Ha.

The spam has increased since I've been blogging. I don't know if there is a causal connection or not.

Cheryl said...

I've got a great spam radar. When in doubt, I report it. So many people are innocents and get taken for their money. I'm so glad you didn't.

Gin said...

I just got one of those paypal scam letters and immediately forwarded it to paypal. They sent me mail to confirm that it was indeed a scam letter.

Please Kathy don't ever click on ANY links that come in those scam mails!!! It would open your computer up for all kinds of horrible things. If you did click on links in the fake email you got, I'd do a scan for viruses and bugs immediately. I sure hope you didn't hurt your computer by clicking on the links (if I understood you correctly). I don't mean to scare you, but that is a really bad thing to do. It's amazing what these horrible pieces of trash mail can do if you let them.

Isn't it pathetic that people have nothing better to do than try to scam others! If they spent as much energy in honest pursuits, they could be rich! It just infuriates me!

Kathy said...

It is appalling -- good word and I really do have to be less trusting. I got one of those paypal letters some time ago. I'd never used paypal (my first clue) but my safety devices went nuts and warned me that this was "A known phishing site." BTW, I clicked on the supposed AOL's icons -- not the links (my mis-wording). And because their site was fake the icons didn't mean anything and didn't lead to anything. I appreciate your concern.