I think not

I got the following email this morning:

Payment Confirmation

Order Invoice <smithfre9642@

09:28 (3 hours ago)

to ewanherbalmagic, bcc: me

Thank You For Your Recent Purchase With iCloud by Apple Inc
This is an auto-generated confirmation email for the purchase that you have done.
You will receive another email with the invoice shortly.
This charge may appear in your account in the next 24 hours of purchase.
If you want to cancel or modify your order, visit iTunes/apple. store or call at xxx-9348
Please find your order information below:
Order Number: FNJ DCC NM2M
Order Date: 23-Sep-2021
Order Name: 12 TB iCloud Space
Amount: USD 1499.99
Paid via iTunes
We hope you shop with us again soon.
Apple Inc.
Helpdesk : xxx-9348

There is so much wrong with this message.

First, it was sent from a gmail address. I somehow doubt Apple is using gmail. Next, notice that it wasn’t sent directly to me, but to someone else with a bcc to me. I suppose the hope is that I won’t notice that and no, I have no idea who “ewanherbalmagic” is.
This was sent to an email address that I set up for a specific purpose and isn’t one I use as a matter of course, so is not attached to my iTunes account.

Now that I’ve disposed of the obvious errors, let’s look at the rest: According to the message I purchased 12 Terrabytes of iCloud storage at a price of $1,499.99 USD. That price is the equivalent today, September 23, 2021, of $1,889.99 CAD but there is no guarantee Apple would process it today, so that Canadian amount could be different from my calculation. And, I have a 1 Tb drive that still has 884 Gb free, so such a purchase would have been completely frivolous as well as far too expensive.

My feeling is that they expect you to have questions/suspicions about this message and you will either call them or use the email provided. I’ll save you the trouble and tell you that the address provided is not the way the real iTunes site shows up in your browser. This is a scam or phishing so, if you get such an email, I suggest you just delete it.

Cat.

Not this year

Today is June 29. On this date I usually change my profile picture on Facebook to a Canadian flag, or a photo of a maple leaf and leave it up until July 5 because that brackets both Canada Day, July 1 and Independence Day in the US, July 4. But not this year.

I’m still a proud Canadian, but this doesn’t seem like the year to celebrate this country. Here are three numbers to help explain why: 215 – 104 – 751. If you’re among my followers and readers from other countries you might not grasp the meaning of these numbers, but if you’re Canadian, I’m quite certain you understand at least the first and last of these.

For those who for various reasons – COVID 19 takes up much of most newscasts – aren’t aware, those three sets of numbers represent the numbers of unmarked graves recently located by various means, including ground penetrating radar, at the sites of now defunct residential schools.

215, Kamloops B C at a school run by the Roman Catholic Church.

104, southwestern Manitoba. None of the news articles I can locate mention which church ran this school. This didn’t seem to receive the same amount of national coverage as the other two.

751, southeastern Saskatchewan at a school run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Following is an abridged definition and history of the residential school system from The Canadian Encyclopaedia:

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in New France, the term usually refers to schools established after 1880. Residential schools were created by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to assimilate them into Canadian society. However, the schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples.

… residential schools became part of government and church policy from the 1830s on, with the creation of Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic institutions in Upper Canada (Ontario). The oldest continually operating residential school in Canada was the Mohawk Institute in what is now Brantford, Ontario. This began as a day school for Six Nations boys, but in 1831 it started to accept boarding students.

Survivors of these schools speak of harsh conditions: forbidden to speak their native languages upon threat of punishment; the boys forcibly having their hair cut, and physical and sexual abuse. A survivor from the Kamloops school, in an interview, said that if a child suddenly vanished overnight, it was assumed they had simply run away, and the schools would encourage that assumption. The overall aim of these schools, in the words of one survivor interviewed, was “to take the Indian out of the child”.

The Roman Catholic order than ran the Kamloops school has announced they will provide whatever documentation they still have to aid in the identification of these 215 poor unfortunate children. I’ve not read or heard of any such offers regarding the Manitoba and Saskatchewan sites. Both the Ontario and federal government have announced they will make funds available to help in the search for unmarked graves and identification of the remains.

I realize that now, in 2021,society’s attitudes have changed greatly since these schools were introduced, but I can think of nothing at any time in history, not just the history of Canada but the history of the world, to justify such treatment of children.

I can’t say if the news of these discoveries in Canada had any bearing on it, but Deb Haaland, the American Secretary of the Interior this past week announced an investigation into the American version of residential schools. I’d like to be optimistic, but I fear that investigation will reveal similar events in the US.

As a result of these sad and tragic announcements, many cities and towns are cancelling their planned Canada Day celebrations. They too find it hard to celebrate this nation’s birthday.

We as a nation have failed these children and I personally don’t think we have anything to celebrate this year. Maybe next year.

Cat.

They are persistent

I checked an email account for the first time since late last week. In it I found the following two emails:

Geek-Squ Renewal (actual address: adammuche1959@)
May 29,2021

Dear Customer,
Thank you for subscribing Defender Firewall Protection From us .
Today the Service Will Renewed Automatically with $349.89 on the same account provided to us.
Order ID: DFP1476608 Date: 29-05-2021

Description Amount

Geek Protection $349.89

(Inclusive Tax)

Total $ 349.89

Note :- Charges will appear on your statement after 8 hours once debited.
If you want to cancel the charges for $349.89 Auto Renew This time.
Get in touch with us :- +1 (800) (674)

Thanks Regards,
Account Dept.
Defender Firewall Protection
+1 (800) (674) Geek Squad (actual address: felixdolphin060@)
May 31. 2021

We Are Renewing It For You

Dear Customer,
Thank you for choosing Geek Squad Pc Support with us.
Today Subscription Will Be Auto Renewed automatically
with $ 399.99 on the same account provided to us.

Customer Support- +1(800) 274
Order #16589GS-59856
Details are giving below –
Account Type:- Personal Home Subscription
Product :- Geek Squad PC Protection
Quantity :- 1
Tenure :- 3 Years
Payment Mode:- Auto Debit
Renewal Amount – $ 399.99

This Email Confirms That You’ve Renewed Your 1 Year Subscription To Geek Squad For $ 399.99 On May 31 2021

To Cancel The Subscription You Can reach Us at +1(800) 274
Regards
Geek Squad Team
Contact +1(800) 274

To keep myself out of trouble with WordPress (again) I’ve left off part of both the actual email addresses and the phone numbers.
I believe Geek Squad is the tech support team at Best Buy, which presents the scammers with their first problem. The last thing I bought from Best Buy was about 3 years ago, and that was a copy of TurboTax. I paid $20 cash for it, so there is no reason I’d have signed up for tech support. If I can’t put a disk in the drive and follow instructions, I shouldn’t be allowed near a computer. And since I paid cash, there is no record of either a debit or credit card number.

These emails came from different addresses, both gmail and both phone numbers are different. Note also the amounts differ. The first is for $349.89 tax included and the second for 399.99 with no mention of taxes. If the scammers are working together, and I find it hard to believe two separate people came up with the idea of a Geek Squad scam at the same time, you’d think they’d at least stick with the same price. Also notice the awkward sentence structure.

One other possibility just came to mind. Somewhere in western Canada is a woman who seems unable to remember her email address and frequently gives out mine in error. I say “in error” because I’ve received family newsletters and vacation plans from her friends. I’ve also received emails regarding orders from legitimate businesses in western Canada. I know because I’ve phoned a couple of these firms upon receipt of their messages.

If you have bought goods from Best Buy and signed up for support, if you get one of these emails, check with Best Buy then delete the message.

Summer is almost here. Stay safe, wear a mask when and where required and remember to give an artist a socially distant hug – we need love too.

Cat.

From the home front

DATE: May 7

TITLE: From the home front

Ontario is currently in the middle of a four week mandatory stay at home order intended to slow the spread of COVID 19. For me, the only real change is that I now stay home because I’m told to, not because I want to. But it does give me some time to think and ask questions I probably normally wouldn’t dream of.

Before I get to the questions and other observations, Canada is conducting its official census this month. This year it is all being done online. I’ve already filled out mine and hit “send”. I noticed a couple of questions that I don’t recall seeing on the census before. The first dealt with gender at birth, and part B of that question was current gender. The second asked about past or present military service. In all the years I’ve been doing the survey, I’ve never been asked that before. If you’re curious, my answer was “yes”.

I haven’t picked on commercials for a while. There has been one on recently for Scotties tissues. At the end, there is a scene where the actress is crying and the tag line is something like “send in the Scotties”. Only problem I have with this is that although the dogs are cute, they aren’t Scotties – they’re West Highland White Terriers.

Okay, on to the questions, actually just a multi-part single question: When and how did certain languages become associated with certain fields? For example, in law and medicine, Latin appears to have become the lingua franca. When, why and how did this occur? As I understand it, much of our law is descended from ancient Greece and the middle east, as is medicine. So how did Latin become the common language of these fields?

Classical music is another case. Italian seems to be the common tongue among composers, yet not all composers were Italian. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms didn’t speak Italian in their daily lives. There are French composers as well, such as Saint Saens, Delibes and DeBussy. Norway gave us Grieg and Finland added Sibelius. Yet each of these composers use Italian in their notations.

Ballet seems to be the province of French terms – pas de deux, barre, jete.

Who decided, and when, that such-and-such a language would become the common tongue of a field of endeavour?

I blame all these questions on Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario. If he hadn’t told me I had to stay home, I’d have been out with a camera and wouldn’t have time to dwell on topics like this.

Stay safe and remember to give an artist a socially distant hug – we need love too.

Cat.

Miscellaneous musings

1 – I’ve come to the conclusions that people in my neighbourhood either can’t read, can’t count, or both. There is a small convenience store down the street from me. This is a long, narrow shop with limited space. On the front door, taking up most of the width of the glass, at eye level, is a sign that reads “2 people at one time only” in large red characters on a white background. As you may be aware, many levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, have imposed restrictions designed to slow or prevent the spread of COVID 19 and one of these is a restriction on the number of people allowed into an establishment at any one time. As I wrote above, this is a small store, so the maximum number of customers is set at two. I don’t know how many times, I’ve been in that store with one other customer and watched two or three more people walk in, completely ignoring the capacity sign they’ve been staring at. C’mon people, those restrictions are for your and my safety. Learn to read and count. It should be easy: one, two.

2 – Maybe I should change my surname to “Scrooge”, but doesn’t it seem to you that broadcasters started their Christmas programming earlier than usual this year? One radio station in Toronto began playing 24 hour Christmas music on November 2! And some of the cable stations I have access to (note “have access to” not watch”) have been showing Christmas themed movies since late November. By the time the actual holiday arrives, we won’t care because we’ll have been so inundated in the previous two months.

3 – I’ve been reading many comments over Jill Biden using “Doctor”. These comments are usually along the lines of “she isn’t a medical doctor, so she shouldn’t use the title.” Excuse me, but by that logic, a dentist shouldn’t be called “Doctor” either, but I’ll be you do use that title even though by the logic you’ve used against Dr Biden, the dentist wouldn’t be entitled to is. I have to disagree with this viewpoint. Any doctorate requires many years of study and great effort. Doctorates aren’t handed out the way presidential pardons seem to be recently. Anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort of earn a doctorate, in any field, deserves the right to use the honorific. I suspect the party affiliation of the people condemning her use of the title plays a part in their comments.

Stay safe,
Cat.

How gullible do you think I am?

Don’t answer that. The question is intended for whoever sent me the following text message yesterday morning:
(613) xxx-6064 (I left the exchange out on purpose)

We are Private Lenders. looking for courier or delivery drivers part /full time in the GTA Get paid upfront daily with a certified cheque to make loans delivery in small envelopes to our customer and for each delivery, you make between 150$ to 500$ depending on experience.
Requirements are that you’re 18+ and interested to start right away Text us your name and best time to reach you

Okay, first, area code 613 is eastern Ontario – roughly Ottawa west to Belleville.

An observation: whoever wrote this needs to study up on punctuation.

I have several questions regarding the remuneration, such as it seems to be an unusually high amount for each delivery. Right away that calls the legality of this into question at least to me. I’ve worked as a courier in the past and the thoughts of making the same money for one delivery as I was making in three days seems suspicious. Also, getting paid daily “upfront” by certified cheque would indicate to me that this “Lender” knows in advance what my deliveries would be each day. Looking at the logistics of this, the “Lender” is located in eastern Ontario somewhere so even if they’re in Belleville, it’s still at least a two hour drive to get the cheque and deliveries to me. If they’ve driven that far already, it would only be about another 45 minutes to downtown Toronto, so why wouldn’t they do the deliveries with their own driver? Unless there’s a reason they don’t want their driver identified.

No, I didn’t text them my name and availability. For one thing, I don’t own a vehicle and as I’ve written above, this seems very sketchy.

Stay safe and since you can’t hug an artist right now, think pleasant thoughts about us and our endeavours – we need love too.
Cat.

Someone’s trying again

DATE: Nov 23

TITLE: Someone’s trying again

On December 6, 2019 I published blog called “Sorry Sarge, not happening” about an email I received purporting to be from New South Wales Australia. The sender claimed to be a Sgt Monica L Brown and she had a proposal for me. Oh, what the heck. Here’s the blog. It’s a short one.

DATE: Dec 6

TITLE: Sorry Sarge, not happening

I received the following email this morning. I’ve removed the email address to keep me in WordPress’s good graces.

Griffin, Christine Cgriffin

I am Sgt Monica L Brown I have a proposal for you! Please send me a reply on my personal Email:

slinbrown975

Rather cryptic and designed to instill curiosity in the reader isn’t it? Let’s look at it.

I am Sgt Monica L Brown Good for you. Are you in the army? Air Force, or the local police or some other paramilitary organisation that uses military ranking? Just telling me your rank doesn’t tell me anything useful.

I have a proposal for you! Really!! And what might that be? Do you have several millions in unclaimed funds you want me to help you smuggle out of the country for a cut of said money?

The extension on the sender’s email was “begavalley.nsw.gov.au”, which I translate to mean this was sent by, or on behalf, of the government of the shire of Bega Valley in New South Wales, Australia. A quick Google search shows this area is also known as “the Sapphire Coast” and it appears to be a tourist destination.

I have to ask myself why the government of a tourist area on the west coast of Australia would be contacting a 75 year-old woman in Canada with a proposal? The only thing that comes to mind is that the website has been hacked and this is in fact a scam. Having these suspicions, I have forwarded this to the Bega Valley Council for investigation.

As mysterious and inviting as this may sound, I strongly recommend you do NOT respond to Sargent Monica L Brown.

On the plus side, for a change it is well-written.

Cat.

So why am I talking about an eleven month old blog that had a total of six views over that period of time? (And yes, admitting that count hurts.) Because yesterday, November 22, the view count ballooned to 32. Readers were mainly from Mexico on down through South America. This sudden interest in the blog, plus the locations of the readers leads me to the conclusion that whoever sent that email using the name Sgt Monica L Brown is trying it again, targeting South America this time. As I wrote almost a year ago, if you get this do NOT respond to the Sarge.

In this time of pandemic I urge you all to stay safe and while you can’t hug an artist right now, think positive thoughts about us, we still need love.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – writer’s comments

I began writing the “Bring him to justice” series of blogs in 2012. Over the intervening years I have received many comments. Some have been encouragement to keep writing of that matter. Some have been thanks for bringing and keeping it before the public. Others have been questions regarding the state of the situation and still others provided me with links to Jamaican news coverage of his attempts to avoid extradition.

Then there are the others. I’ve read, and often approved, comments defending George Flowers or offering excuses for his actions. And in cases where the person offering the comment could neither defend nor excuse him, they chose instead to attack the writer.

On September 23, 2020 I published “Bring him to justice – justice served” outlining Flowers’s guilty plea and the resulting sentence. In that blog I said “And to supporters of him I’d like to point out that his guilty plea is an admission that he did in fact do what he was accused of doing. Spare me your bullshit excuses for his actions. You’ve wasted enough of my time already.” I guess those last two sentences worked for I’ve heard nothing from those who previously defended or excused him or launched personal attacks on me. And honestly I’m not surprised his so-called supporters were so quick to abandon him once he entered his plea. Something about rats and sinking ships comes to mind.

I can understand not hearing from those people who encouraged and supported me, for September 23, 2020 marked an end to one part of their ordeal. I sincerely hope the guilty plea and the imposed sentence gives you some relief.

Cat.

I won again!

I received the following in my inbox a couple of hours ago:

CNN’s Good Stuff

14:05 (2 hours ago)

Congratulations, You Have Been Selected To Get A $360 Cvs Pharmacy GiftCard,
In Order To Take Your Gift Card All You Have To Do Is Just Answering A
Short Survey About Your Shopping Experiences At Cvs

I’ve removed the email address and links to keep me out of trouble with WordPress (it’s happened before).

The problem with this email is first, I doubt CNN operates that way and perhaps the biggest problem of all is we don’t have CVS in Canada. Also, and not to sound greedy, by $360 sounds like an odd amount.

If you receive this email, be aware the actual sender’s address is a gmail address, not from CNN.

My advice is that if you get this email, just delete it, or do what I did and send a copy to CNN.

Take care and stay healthy,

Cat.

I’m insulted

While trying to post the previous blog, I checked comments waiting for approval and found three. All were on different blogs and came from different ip addresses. The text was the same in all three: This blog O Canada what have you done? has helped me a
lot with my dog. Also, I used this training course (site name deleted) and now my dog follows everything I ask.
Kiss you All!

If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know I didn’t like the Stephen Harper government so that I railed against them yet again would be no surprise. This particular instance the actions of that government struck me as especially high-handed. Until this bill was passed, in order to strip someone of their Canadian citizenship, it was necessary to go through the courts. The Act in question changed it so the decision would be made not by the courts, but by the Minister responsible for Citizenship and Immigration. Naturally I was – and still am- opposed to such a star chamber approach and voiced my opinion.

There is nothing in that blog that would lend itself to training a dog unless, to get silly for a moment, the training goes something like “You will obey me or I will strip your identity as a Great Dane and make you a pug instead”. We had Samoyeds and a book we read on training Samis stated “figure out what the dog wants to do, tell him to do it, then praise him when he does.”

Obviously, these three comments were sent by bots using key words in the three blogs in question to generate the message, but I’m still insulted.

Remember to hug an artist, we need love (and fewer insults) too.

Cat.