Sunday, March 01, 2020


Expect we’re all paying mind to issues associated with the Coronavirus including recommended care we each should take so I won’t repeat instructions here.  This is a dynamic situation with potential changes daily to be expected. 

I believe there are knowledgeable individuals we can trust including credible press who will keep us all informed as to the science and facts associated with the status of this virus in the U.S. -- whether or not some government officials not known for their belief in science or veracity attempt to control information distribution otherwise. 

Mostly I’m approaching this pretty much as I have with my earthquake emergency preparedness though there are some differences.  Importantly, we must remain calm, rational and not panic. 

Big Bear Bald Eagle eggs did not hatch so no eaglets this year.

Don’t you love the feeling when you’ve resolved some issue that has been ‘hangin’ fire’, so to speak.   I recently received an email from a gal who had been in a writing group with me several years ago.  In a few brief words I was asked to please review a large attachment she sent.  I had reason to be surprised she would send me this request plus the attachment was on an unfamiliar-to-me formal business-looking form I’d never seen before.  A net search revealed such a business site, but I was uneasy about opening the attachment.      

I recalled encouraging her to publish a book of her flash fiction short-short stories that always ended with an unexpected twist our group really enjoyed.  Maybe she had written a few more tales, wanted me to review them before submitting for publication.  But I still had a niggling little feeling of unease about this attachment so decided to follow my gut’s dictates to not click to open.

I thought I’d try to contact the writer to verify the email actually was from her, but this was easier said than done since our group never exchanged phone numbers and communicated only by email, plus the other members had either moved away or died.  I’ll spare you the gory details of all the time and effort I expended in this effort, encountering repeated dead-ends in the process.   

I’d decided to just let it go and if she didn’t hear from me, maybe she’d contact me.  But then the matter would cross my mind again and I’d think of something else to try. I kept feeling like this was unfinished business hanging over me and I wanted to simply wrap it up.  But I finally decided to put it on hold for a while.

Just as I had put that issue on my mental back burner I received an email from a prominent national department store thanking me for purchases pictured with an accompanying receipt – a scarf and 3 pairs of sheer thigh high hosiery of a type these legs of mine now weren’t likely to be wearing any more.   Subsequently, I received several more emails from the store inviting me to sign up (requiring I reveal personal information I expect) to a special club they have, telling me about all their other related stores including some with bargains and a $40 bonus for future purchases. 

Immediately, I’m thinking a phishing expedition since I hadn’t made these in-store purchases in NYC.    In the event this could be the beginning of a fraud, I  forwarded those emails with a brief explanation to the store.   Chat and other exchanges the next few days finally resolved the matter when I noticed on the receipt copy sent to me that they had an email address for the purchaser with an additional repetitive alphabet letter different from my email address.  Either the store or the email provider mis-sent these notices to me. 

Years ago, something similar had happened several times when I received emails meant for some other person but who had a slightly different username and address.  I was finally comfortable this was resolved with no harm done, but I was reminded of my other unresolved email issue.

So,  I searched again on the net, came across what I thought was my former writers group member’s name, but in a nearby city – not where she had lived in my town.  I took a chance, phoned, and the man answering insisted no one by that name there.  I pressed, did he know of anyone by that name elsewhere, mentioned the writing group and instantly he said, “Just a minute.”   Next thing I knew I was talking to her.  Her email had been hacked.  She thought she’d contacted everyone to not click on the attachment.  I was relieved to wrap-up that issue and that I had avoided malware on my computer.   

I’m glad to have resolved these matters once and for all avoiding possible complications.   Feels so good!   

Have you encountered  similar computer complications or matters you resolved leaving you feeling a sense of relief?   


  1. Wow, that was scary. The store purchases and the book from a friend? You played it all very smart and it could have been nasty. Sad that we have to be so cautious these days. So far I have been spared but like you I open almost nothing unless it is photos from a friend. Suppose someday someone will figure out how to corrupt that.
    Sorry about the Eagles. I had such hopes.

  2. "...though there are some differences. Importantly, we must remain calm, rational and not panic." Does that mean that it is OK to panic in the midst of an earthquake?

    In your shoes, I would delete the email and never give it another thought. Too frequently, a person's distribution list gets hacked and everyone that the person knows gets a pitch aimed at getting them to open malware-containing files. Smart of you not to fall for it.
    Cop Car

    1. Ha! Expect we’d want to avoid panic for possible earthquake, too, all these days, weeks, months and years those of us in So Cal live with predictions we’re overdue for “the big one”.

      If I receive what I consider a questionable email with or without an attachment from a personal friend I usually check privately with them via means other than that email address to see if they really sent it which also serves to alert them they’ve been hacked, if they didn’t already know. I don’t maintain a specific distribution list for my personal contacts that can be hacked into as don’t intend to make it easy for anyone.

  3. I’m trying not to panic, but it’s hard when the shelves are now being depleted of toilet paper (why?), hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, etc. I don’t quite know why they’re telling us to stock up on bottled water. It’s not like tap water will disappear.

    1. Perhaps people just stock up on basic household necessities fearing a shortage, I guess. We, or at least I, don’t really know what products we use that are manufactured or packaged elsewhere that might be impacted if they’re no longer able to produce them to ship to U.S.

      Family tells me there’s a run on certain products at stores on the east coast whenever severe storms are predicted. The unknowns leave us guessing I suppose.

      I do recall my bro describing TP being in short supply on Oahu years ago when dock workers went on strike and ships weren’t being unloaded but that was a different situation. When I learned that, I recall trying to figure out how here in So Cal I could send him some TP but, fortunately, the strike was settled.

  4. I am always cautious with opening unrequested attachments of any kind. Recently one from a member of my book club requesting help in a life and death situation - as they usually are. Total scam, someone had hacked her email account. We have to be constantly vigilant.


  5. I've never experienced anything as complicated as that, but I've certainly had a fair bit of spam on my blog. It's very obvious they're spam comments so I just delete them. Dodgy cold calls on the phone are more of an issue - people saying my computer has a problem or my broadband is about to be cut off. I just put the phone down.

    I'm not especially worried about coronavirus. I might or might not catch it and if I do, it's simply a matter of self-isolation and waiting for it to pass. Bascially it's just another type of flu, and the chance of an over-60 with no chronic illness or respiratory problem dying from it (i.e. me) is less than 1 per cent.

  6. Because I am allergic to the flu shots, I have had to do what they suggest for years. The flu can be deadly also. I think with the new virus, it's the uncertainty that has people on edge-- that and the media hyping each additional case. They never tell us who died from the flu because it's been routine.

  7. Having both a blog and a website makes me doubly sure of getting spam and other emails that could be harmful. If I am the least bit iffy on receipt of them I just delete. I figure if it's critical or legitimate the writer will try again or in a different way.

  8. I frequently get emails from sites purporting to be fellow bloggers I may have followed in the past. They mostly come without an actual message but always a link. I delete instantly, whether I know (the name of) the sender or not. Then there are the phoney mails from people offering me untold riches, etc. Into the bin every time.

    Coronavirus information is now an insistent clamour. I tend to stick with reputable sites whose information I trust. It is all a bit worrying though, I have breathing problems anyway and really wouldn’t want to catch the virus. I may decide to stay at home when things come a bit closer.

  9. Between Norton and Outlook, my emails are so well scrubbed that it's a rare event when phishing emails get through and, as someone wrote, they are generally easily recognized. It's been 10-15 years since my last spam in comments on my blog. I'd say that "Clean living does it"; but, it's much more probable that I get no spam because I keep my blog closed to search engines. TypePad gives a blogger that option. It would be unhandy if one cared about traffic to one's blog; but, it is wonderfully freeing to me.
    Cop car

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