I got an e-mail from PayPal a while back. I forget what it said, exactly, but it was spooky. "Someone's been trying to get into your account, so we've put limits on it. Please log into PayPal and check it out." I opened a new browser window and dutifully typed in "www.paypal.com" and tried to log in. Sure enough, it asked me for my credit card and bank account info. I stopped and e-mailed PayPal to ask if this was legitimate, then proceeded to forget about it. I never did get an answer.
Today I got another e-mail. Here it is...
Hello Christopher Radloff,
As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. We recently contacted you after noticing an issue on your account.
We requested information from you for the following reason:
We have reason to believe that your account was accessed by a third party. We have limited access to sensitive PayPal account features in case your account has been accessed by an unauthorized third party. We understand that having limited access can be an inconvenience, but protecting your account is our primary concern.
Case ID Number: PP-***-***-***
This is a reminder to log in to PayPal as soon as possible.
Be sure to log in securely by opening a new browser window and typing the PayPal URL. Once you log in, you will be provided with steps to restore your account access. We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account safety.
In accordance with PayPal's User Agreement, your account access will remain limited until the issue has been resolved. Unfortunately, if access to your account remains limited for an extended period of time, it may result in further limitations or eventual account closure. We encourage you to log in to your PayPal account as soon as possible to help avoid this.
To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal used to make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the Resolution Center. If, after reviewing your account information, you seek further clarification regarding your account access, please contact PayPal by visiting the Help Center and clicking "Contact Us".
We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.
PayPal Account Review Department
PayPal Email ID PP***
The letter looks legitimate -- it's got my name on it rather than "Dear PayPal User," and there are no links to click but rather instructions to type the URL manually into a fresh browser. But to be on the safe side I forwarded the e-mail to the PayPal spoof people. They replied in minutes.
Hello Chris Radloff,
Thanks for forwarding that suspicious-looking email. You're right - it
was a phishing attempt, and we're working on stopping the fraud. By
reporting the problem, you've made a difference!
Identity thieves try to trick you into revealing your password or other
personal information through phishing emails and fake websites. To learn
more about online safety, click "Security Center" on any PayPal webpage.
Every email counts. When you forward suspicious-looking emails to
firstname.lastname@example.org, you help keep yourself and others safe from identity
Your account security is very important to us, so we appreciate your
The problem is that I still can't log into my normal PayPal gunk. I go to PayPal.com, type in my name and password, and am taken to a page asking for my financial info... Has this happened to anyone else? Is the first e-mail legitimate? Was the second one an automatic response?
It's a cold rainy day today. I'm not sure it's supposed to get above 65 or 70... Drippy drippy drippy. A perfect day to sit inside and get all my work done (I'm rendering some DVD's at the moment so I have a few seconds to type), but the Legion Riders are supposed to be in two different parades today... Little town of Oyens, IA (it literally has three streets going this way and three streets going that way) is celebrating their Sesqui... Semisesqui... Sasquatchcent... their 125th anniversary at noon and Sioux Center is having their annual summer celebration at five p.m.
I'll need to leave the house at 9:45 a.m., probably won't get back until after 7 p.m.
I can't say I'm real excited to lose a day's work to go ride a couple hundred miles in the rain... I'm just too busy. Riding in the cold and rain doesn't bother me much, but it takes more time (gotta ride slower, take time to put on the winter gear and rain suit, etc.) and that's exactly what I don't have today.
I started getting e-mails a few days ago from a friend. "So-and-So wants to show you her private photos on Tagged. Please respond or she'll think you don't like her." Hmmm... I know the lady, and it's doubtful that she wants to show me "private photos," so I e-mailed her.
Turns out Tagged is legitimate, kind of a Facebook thing. My friend belongs, so I went to sign up.
I clicked through 15 or 20 advertisement pages (you know the kind, it looks like you're supposed to click the button, but unless you notice the very tiny "skip" button underneath you get sucked into a morass of popup screens) trying to sign up. Once I was all registered, I went back to check my e-mail, only to find about 15 e-mails from Tagged.
I cancelled my account. It's icky and creepy there.
Siouxland Honor Flight
I got to go on an Honor Flight last Tuesday. The Honor Flight is where they take a group of WWII veterans, charter a jet, fly 'em to Washington D.C. and let them tour the WWII monument there. It's free to the vets, and is quite the experience!
We had over 100 veterans go on our trip, along with around 35 support personnel (a medical team, Guardians who look after the veterans, and a few media people). It nearly broke my heart to see the airport security people make 105 85- and 90-year-old men totter around the airport in their stocking feet, britches falling off, shoes and belt in hand... Half of the guys had metal implants and couldn't make it through the metal detector and had to be taken aside.
We met at the airport at 4:30 a.m., flew direct to Dulles in Washington D.C., got on some buses that took the group to the WWII Memorial, then off to a bus tour of the city, stopped at the Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Air Force Memorial, the FDR Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, then back to the airport and homeward. We got back to Sioux City about 1 or 1:30 a.m. It was a BUSY day!
I'll do a full write-up when I get time, but MAN was it a touching event! When the plane landed in Washington D.C. people in the airport were waving flags and cheering -- they even had the fire trucks shoot water over the airplane in honor of the vets. At the FDR Memorial some school children figured out that the guys in the blue shirts were all WWII veterans -- the vets spent the next 15 minutes shaking hands with awed children. When we got back to Sioux City there was a flag line and a real gosh-honest brass band playing patriotic music, people waving flags and cheering -- at 1:30 in the morning!