Friday, March 6, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 47

I am supposed to go to Leiden to have lunch with Hanneke.

Hanneke is a professor of social care at a college. We were introduced to each other many years ago by a mutual colleague, we got talking and enjoyed each other’s stories, so we have kept up seeing each other at regular intervals.

Early in the morning Hanneke calls. Her sister has suddenly been hospitalised and they still do not know what exactly is wrong with her but her condition seems serious. Her other sister is also sick and the three of them take care of her very old father who still lives by himself.

She does not have time to come to lunch today and she will call me later to set another date.

I use the time to work on documents for the General Assembly of one of my organisations.

I have got a strange message from my provider- at least I think it is my internet provider – who wants to improve his services and asks me for some data, including my password. My provider is someone whom I got to know about 15 years ago, when he was a student and set up a business. He started helping people with computer problems, then began to sell computers and other stuff and finally also became a provider. When we corresponded his Dutch often was rather poor. Because he runs several businesses he also has several e-mail addresses, but the message I got yesterday was totally incomprehensible. I have written a rather critical answer, telling him I do not understand what he means.

Today there is a message, this time in reasonable English, asking for the same data and a threat that my accounts may be cut off if I don’t provide them. I decide to give the data, and send my message with the reply button but a few hours later I get a message that my reply did not reach its destination. This is strange. I send my provider an e-mail at the address I have in my list, and very soon after, he rings me. He has never sent me any e-mails asking for data. This must have been a hacker, so I have to get another password immediately. I am about to go out when he calls so he offers to make a new password for me now and later in the afternoon I can call him when I have chosen a new password.

I am very glad he has been so alert! I probably have escaped from a lot of trouble. I now fully realise how easy it is to fool (some) internet users. I am more convinced than ever that I do not want to do any internet banking.

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