Though this post begins different than some of my others, it does relate to life after release by showing my adaption to the technological advances made since I walked out the prison doors on August 28, 2018.
A walk in the Park on a cool and cloudy, Southern day. What a pleasure it was to see a great blue heron spread its majestic wings and soar across the water. Had I not been trigger-happy on my smartphone, I would have left the park with a nice video of it flapping its wings to lift itself above the water to fly off into the trees after I disturbed its peace by walking too close for its comfort.
When I pressed the spot on my phone to start the video, I didn’t think it worked so I pressed again. The second press stopped the video that had slowly started, so I got a one-second video and another slightly longer one that tracked it as it neared the trees, too far away for a good image.
SMARTWATCH WITH PHISHING LINK INCLUDED
Two weeks ago, I ordered a smartwatch online that has the capability of connecting to the camera in my smartphone. My plan was to use the smartwatch to take a selfie or group photo with me in the picture without having to hold the phone in my hand.
When my smartwatch arrived from China, I scanned the QR Code on the miniature user’s guide to connect my smartphone. Not just any smartphone, a real smartphone with the latest technology. The Android 10 update removed bugs and improved security.
No Connection: I aborted the download when Google Chrome and my security system warned that a phishing link was detected in the app: “IhzI666.com/fundo/download.html Phishing Website” (actual URL).
I contacted the company that I bought the watch from and told them that the watch, simply labeled as SMARTWATCH, came with the phishing link in the QR code and should be removed from inventory and that the company should contact and warn all customers who purchased that brand.
Fortunate for me, a couple of days before my devilish smartwatch arrived, fully loaded to catch a phish, I checked my phone for updates and saw Android 10 was available. Had I not have taken the time to update my phone, my finances may have dwindled, even though I do use two-factor authentication to protect access to anything I use with important information contained therein.
ALWAYS BE ON ALERT FOR SCAMS
Within a month of my release from prison, I ran into a scammer who posed as a hiring manager for a company offering a work-from-home opportunity. A little too late (after giving personal information), I figured out what was going on, but kept the person on the wire for over a week playing games with him, her, or IT, because I had already done what I could to protect myself and didn’t have anything of value to be taken, other than my fine name associated with a long history of criminal convictions.
ALERTED: The email address ended with @gmail.com. The company he, she or IT claimed to represent, came before the @gmail.com. Any official business will use their company email account, not gmail.com, hotmail.com or anything other than something like @amazon.com or @straightfromthepen.com.
I immediately contacted the credit reporting agency, Esperian, and froze my credit reports and alerted the FCC about the Scam-in-Process. After letting the idiot think for a week that a phish was online, I sent a text and revealed what I had done and said, “You need to find you a real job. I’ve been in federal prison for thirty-years and don’t have anything for you to steal. I’m out here starting my life over. Find something else to do that is more constructive before you end up going to where I just left.”
He, she, or IT was one of many scammers that I have dealt with since my release. Because of my popularity as an author, blogger, photographer (Google Guide-almost 4,000,000 views of my photos in Google Maps), etc., my social presence makes me a target.
Before my release, and afterwards, if I had not taken the time to learn about security, and the advancements in technology, my life would be different than what it is today.
To repay my debt to society, I use those negative experiences to help others avoid being caught in the same traps by forewarning them and posting blogs like this to enlighten others because life out here isn’t always a Walk in the Park.
But life is good, especially when I am blessed with seeing the beauty of God’s creation as it spreads its wings to fly into the sunset or across a body of water.