It’s Father’s Day, a Sunday evening in Iowa. The weather is nice, especially for the day before the official first day of summer. Mom and Dad and kids have finished dinner. The kids are out in the yard, chasing firebugs.
Mom is setting out work clothes for tomorrow. Dad is washing up the last of the dinner dishes and putting the kitchen back to rights. It may have been Father’s Day, but he’s a good partner, and parent, and is setting an excellent example for their children.
Dad mentions that the new tie the kids bought will look great with his favorite button down shirt. Mom can’t hear and yells, “What?”
The phone rings. Mom and Dad both shout, “I’ll get it!”
Dad wins that petty squabble and answers the landline. He assumes it will be either his or her parents, calling to check in at the end of the day.
“For the love of all that is holy, STOP USING MY EMAIL ADDRESS TO REGISTER FOR CRAP!”
Stunned, the man has no idea what the person on the other end of the line said. “I’m sorry? What was that?”
“My name is Jeff Doe. Your name is Jake Doe. My email address is JDoe@gmail.com. I earned that email by claiming it first a decade ago. Your email address is NOT JDoe@Gmail.com. STOP USING IT TO REGISTER FOR WEBSITES!”
“How did you get this number? This is my landline?”
A sigh comes from the other end of the line. “When you register for things on a website, and use your real address and phone number, and then MY email account, that information comes to me. Didn’t you notice last time when I changed all of your utilities accounts passwords? I can tell you that you are on Oak Avenue in TownInIowa and I just called your landline. Which is unlisted, according to the internet. I have the answers to all of your security questions. You’re lucky I feel loyalty toward the last name Doe, or I could have fucked your entire world up.”
This phone call could happen to you!
My Companion had this happen to him, though he wasn’t the father getting the phone call. He was the frustrated father on the other end of the line who is constantly receiving this man’s emails, some of which are very important and shouldn’t be missed by the man CONSTANTLY GIVING OUT THE WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS!!
I get it. We’ve all had that time when we thought we had a perfect email address set up, only to find that someone else had it first. I have a relatively common name, so I wasn’t surprised when I had to add Author at the end of AKLawrence, or my birth year at the end of my personal. I’m fine with that. There were times in the past I played with the numbers I had to add, using inside jokes and things. But if I had AKLawrence@gmail.com, and was constantly receiving emails meant for someone else, AND IT WAS THEIR OWN FAULT, I’d be at the end of my rope as well.
My Companion is a responsible guy. He has certificates granting him public trust. So The Iowa JDoe is safe and secure with My Companion having his information. Nothing is going to happen there.
I have harped and harped on everyone who reads this blog to change their passwords, to use secure passwords, don’t open email’s attachments you weren’t expecting or don’t know the source from, don’t trust just any email that comes through asking for personal information and on and on ad nauseum.
But people don’t listen to me. No, they’d rather wait and listen to the hackers, I suppose, and see what kind of fun times they can have after all of their identity has gone up in a Russian or Chinese or not so great American puff of smoke.
Not every hacker is grey or white. Some of them would have snatched up that information and his identity would have been gone forever.
So, make sure you’re actually registered for any email that you’re using. If not, you may talk to My Companion, or someone like him, and not like the results. If you didn’t go to gmail or hotmail or whatever.com and get a verification that your email is what you wanted it to be, DON’T USE IT!!! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to contact me. I will happily answer them, or allow My Companion to do it for me! Below, please find links to articles for changing and creating secure passwords.
Side note: By the end of the conversation, My Companion had walked the gentleman through changing his information and, perhaps in a way, they became friendly, if not friends. Probably not soulmates, just saying.