Returning To Bad News
After a delightful week in Southern California, I came home to a gigantic pile of mail. As my cat-sitter put it, "You get more junk mail that anyone else I've ever seen!" In fact, the pile of mail filled to the brim and overflowed the edges of one huge box.
As I went through the items, I came to two envelopes from my accountant, and thinking that these were mere newsletters about end-of-tax-year matters, I put them aside for a few hours. What a nasty suprise I got when I opened the letters!
"We are writing to alert you that some of the personal and confidential information you have provided may be at risk. On Monday, November 14, 2005, burglars broke into our office suite breaching several layers of security. The break in occurred between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. The theives stole computer equipment, some of which contained client information including names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth and bank account information...
"There is an immediate risk that confidential information may be used for identity theft and other illegal purposes. We strongly recommend that you immediately place a 90-day fraud alert on your account by calling Equifax..."
Of course, I called Equifax immediately and, following the simple prompts in the automated system, I placed the fraud alert. But because of the timing of my Thanksgiving vacation, I have to wonder if my identity is already jeopardized.
In the same batch of mail was a letter addressed to my father, who has been dead almost nine years. In order to protect his identity--never mind that he is dead--I am supposed to send to various agencies three copies of his death certificate. Do I still have on hand three death certificates? I doubt it. If my father's identity has been stolen, can such a theft really have substantial impact on me? His estate was settled years ago, but his name still appears on the deed to his house. I'll have to contact the accountant on that one, I suppose.
No sooner had I tended to the fraud alert than I found serious problems with two of my email accounts. I was able to read email but unable to reply, forward, or compose. After three grueling hours on the phone with The Geek Squad and after multiple attempts to deleted adware and spyware, I finally have the laptop email working again. The desktop is another matter and will just have to wait until my Christmas break, which begins on December 10. After what I went through with the Geeks from Jamaica and Bangladesh, I think I'll pay the extra bucks for a house call.
And now, just when I thought computer matters on this laptop were settled, in Blogger "Compose" my enter key doesnt' work! At least the key works in "Edit HTML"--so far, that is. Well, if my blog suddenly falls silent or has no paragraphs, you readers will know that I'm having computer problems.
Coming back to reality after a memorable vacation is always difficult. But somehow I didn't expect that getting back to the grind at home would be this bad!