I’m sure we are all familiar with the email phishing messages that say something like
“Dear Valued Customer, You account has been suspended, in order to reactivate your account, you are required to go to this website and enter all your details, and you must do so today, or your account will be permanently blocked and you will not be able to get at your money”
Hopefully, we all know enough not to click on a link like that – they are just phishing for information with which to defraud us.
A new twist to this just happened to me, and whilst I did spot that it was a fraud, it could well catch people out.
Yesterday afternoon my cell phone rang, and it looked like a local number because the caller id started 314. When I answered, an automated voice said that my (name of Bank) debit card had been blocked, and that if I wanted to unblock it I should press 2. I was immediately suspicious, because any calls from my bank have always been more personal than this totally impersonal message. But on the other hand, I’d just used my debit card for a fairly large transaction, and I know that this can sometimes trigger a security alert. So I pressed 2.
Another automated voice asked me to key in my 16 digit card number. The alarm bells that had been ringing softly before now went crazy. My Bank knows who I am. If this had been a real call from my Bank I’d probably have been put through to an agent, or at least given some automated questions to answer that would have confirmed my ID. But my card number? Followed, I assume, by the 3 digits on the back of the card and my Social Security number? And then followed by a lot of payments out of my account!
I hung up, and then looked at the number that had came up as the caller ID more closely. My screen said 31473638699. At first glance it looks like any other Missouri number, until you try to put it in standard format – 314-736-3869 9 – too many digits!!!
Just to be sure, I checked with my Bank, and as I suspected they knew nothing of any call or any block on the account.
No harm, no foul – but a salutary reminder to “be safe out there”.
As part of my promotion for my new book, Sittin on the Dock of King’s Lynn, I’ve just recorded and released a YouTube video of a reading from it. So, if you’ve ever wondered what this English/Midwestern voice sounds like – now is your opportunity to find out:)
Sittin on the Dock of King’s Lynn is available in both print and electronic versions from Amazon, but I can also let you have a signed copy direct form my desk – a perfect gift! Drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll send you details:)
Another promotional activity just released is a 2015 calendar of images from my King’s Lynn days, what better present for Christmas?
Sittin’ on the Dock of King’s Lynn
It’s one of the strange things about the Internet that you never know where your words will end up. This week, one of my Tweets about Sitting on the Dock of King’s Lynn was picked up by a Japanese Tweeter and re-tweeted to their followers! Because Amazon has country specific sites, my book is also available from Amazon Japan, but I’ve never sold a book there — so far!! we will have to see if there is any interest in a tale of the English Norfolk countryside in that far away land!
All the signed copies of my book that were requested have been sent off, but it’s not too late – if you would like a copy for yourself or a friend or loved one email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Let me know how many copies you’d like, details of the names/wording you want included (or leave the wording to me), and your name and full address (including zip/postcode and country).
The list price on Amazon.com is $9.99, but I can let you have signed copies for $8.99 including US Postage. Unfortunately, overseas mail cost more, and I will add up to $5 for orders from outside the US.
Today’s Vision Update
We are still on track for a formal launch of Todays Vision at the beginning of October, and we are powering up with upgrades to the software and employing coders to get the site as slick as possible. The really cool thing is that without any real publicity or promotions, we are already getting a lot of hits on the site, and it’s generating a lot of interest, just from “word of mouth”.
Please do pop over to The Write Stuff, and check out the other pages too!
Order your copy of Sittin’ on the Dock of King’s Lynn now!
For availability in other countries, please drop me an email!
New post on Today’s Vision:
We have been under a “Heat Advisory” here for the last few days, and yesterday afternoon I checked the weather forecast just before going out to collect my wife from work. The forecast was for a high of 86 and the chance of “a stray thunderstorm”. There had been a few clouds overhead all afternoon, but mostly it had been a sunny day, and so I wasn’t really concerned about the possibilities of thunder.
As I drew into the parking lot the clouds were gathering overhead, I heard a slight rumble of thunder in the distance, and it started to rain a bit. I parked outside the door of my wife’s office, and, as I was 5 minutes early, I turned on the weather radar we have in the car, but it didn’t show anything much in our area, just a few storms a long way south of us.
In just a few minutes the clouds got really dark and the rain came down in torrents – my windscreen wipers were fighting a losing battle against the rain even on their faster setting.
And then the thunder and lightning started.
I’d always been taught that you could tell the distance of a storm by counting the time between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder – well it was about a count of one!
Then the wind started. The car was being rocked by the wind so badly, that I was wondering if I was safe to stay there. Only the thought of having to brave the outside elements unprotected made me stay in the dry car.
For 15 minutes I watched the roadways fill up with water, and people started milling around in the office doorway, not willing to brave the storm. As it happened my wife was late leaving, and the wind and thunder had eased off by the time she got to the door, but it was still raining hard.
The road under the railway bridge on the way home was flooded, and I had to take an alternative route, which entailed turning across traffic at a junction where the lights were out. As I drove the 2 miles home, the ground slowly got dryer and dryer, until back at our house, they had only had a light sprinkling of rain, and were wondering what the fuss was all about.
But at least I know know what a Stray Thunderstorm is like!!