Driving into the setting sun
The glare of dusty gold speckles on the windscreen
They glisten like jewels, but are just dead bugs
Combined with the silver bright halo of haze
I am blindfolded
For minutes at a time
I can’t see the edges of the road
The middle is a bright white blurr
I slow slightly
The sun suddenly drops, blocked behind trees
I can see
Squinting as my eyes adjust from bright to dark again
Time speeds up
I am almost home, I breathe deeply, it’s been awhile of holding my breath
I’m just not there yet
The sun sets behind the horizon
I drive on, into the indigo turning dark
The first stars come out
I turn into my driveway
Tense shoulders relaxing
It’s a special kind of feeling
*yesterday my plans changed and I ended up driving straight home again after my appointment. Eight hours round trip. Driving doesn’t bother me, I quite enjoy it. Several good podcast episodes and the time flew by, apart from the last hour driving directly into the sun setting in the west – I hadn’t done that in awhile and had quite forgotten how blinding it is, how dangerous it can feel.
Anyway, nothing happened. No wildlife injured, no dents, and I arrived home to a cold house in the dark, and then spent two hours on the phone to Telstra trying to sort out a scammer who has stolen my mobile phone number and is using it to ring people.
It sounds crazy. Bazaar. It’s called spoofing and a technician working from home in Melbourne slowly, painfully began sorting it out while chatting to me as we discussed the best Netflix shows and pros and cons of different series to the side of what he was doing.
After two hours we were best friends, had enjoyed quite a few laughs and I had some new shows to look up on Netflix.
But the anxiety continues to lurk. He couldn’t guarantee that the measures he put in place would prevent further nonsense occurring with my phone. 89% success rate.
Here’s what happens – someone calls me and tells me I have rung them. I haven’t rung them and don’t even know who they are. There is no record of a phone call to the number on my phone. It’s weird. A number calls me, I miss the call so call it back – I get an eerie voice mail that could be my husband (except the voice is slightly off – it’s someone doing a good job of imitating him) speaking and giving our details and his mobile number to ring. So there is a random number also out there that if people ring it – it sounds like us. But it isn’t. And it’s bazaar and frustrating and deeply concerning.
They apparently do all sorts of things with this set up including trying to defraud people of money, and then when the people work out what has happened they come for me. Because it’s my number they are using Telstra assures me that I can’t be charged with anything as it has the case on file now and is fixing the problem.
But it all makes me VERY ANXIOUS!
This is the world we live in now. It’s disconcerting. Every day I get scam emails – download this file. Click the link. Some are more legitimate sounding than others. Some could actually be really people that want a house built and are sending me plans – I don’t trust any of it now though.
I get phone calls from people saying they are from my bank and requesting details. That’s an obvious one and I hang up on them. I get calls from people saying that my Amazon Account has been hacked. I also hang up on them.
I actually got a legitimate call from my bank once, but from a different branch in Melbourne, following up on a business loan issue – I wouldn’t speak to them until they went through my local branch manager first – it was a rigamarole to put them through but the guy, when I would finally talk to him, said he wished all bank customers were as thoroughly distrustful. Because it costs the bank millions in claims, but also many people because the bank doesn’t always pay.
Fraud is big business and every day people are getting ripped and gouged just for being trusting
I don’t like being doubtful. I don’t like being mistrustful. Yet it has saved us and our business from fraud dozens of times over by this point.
My solicitor sends all clients the advice that before depositing funds into their account we must ring and check over the phone that the details are correct. Because they are prime targets for hackers who intercept emails and change the bank deposit details. New home settlements are lucrative. I always ring and check. My solicitor told me last time I did so that almost no one does. And it’s a pity because yes – money goes awry and to the wrong parties. And everyday people end up out of pocket.
Last year my sister had a client call her to say they had paid an invoice already. She said she didn’t send an invoice. The client had apparently received a legitimate looking invoice with letterhead and everything perfectly reconstructed but the bank details were different. The client paid the invoice. They never got their money back
It’s terrible! This happens to thousands of people everyday.
Our sense of trust is being eroded
This is who we are becoming. Distrusting. I don’t like it, yet it has saved me numerous times from fraud.
There could be anything out there at any time and like driving into the sun – I cannot see it clearly, until it jumps in front of me
But I just have to keep trusting that somehow, it’ll all be okay.
And keep the car on the road, keep driving – until I get home
Except that I don’t even know where home is or where we are going anymore. The world is becoming increasingly virtual and it’s difficult to call someone and know they are really who they say they are.
Our details are out into the hands of strangers who say they will use them for good. How do we know? Government departments and apps that hold our entire identity within this virtual world that abounds with malevolent forces.
Is this really progress?
I’m not sure
I’m sorry I can’t end my post on a bright note. But perhaps this is a reminder that may help. Don’t trust blindly. If it feels off, trust your gut. Don’t be embarrassed about seeming paranoid. Protect yourself and your information. With all the best practices and firewalls in place your security may still be breached – if it is, seek help immediately. I hope you never need any of this advice but unfortunately this is as common as catching a cold or Covid now, and all of us are would be targets.