July 2008 issue
Credit Theft Cure!
Well, it fiinally happened... I became the victim of credit card theft. Just as Irene and I were heading down to Tybee Island for a week of sun and surf, I got a call from CitiBank asking if I had authorized several hundred dollars worth of purchases on my MasterCard in Europe. Huh?
The good news is that they were on the ball and flagged the suspiciious activity before it could do any damage. The bad news is that we had to spend a week's vacation spending cash out of pocket because the credit card was frozen while being corrected.
This whole mess did bring about the discovery of a method of conducting on-line or telephone purchases without compromising the security of your credit card number. It's called a "Virtual Account Number" which more and more credit companies are offering now.
You get a transaction number, or Virtual Account Number (VAN), from your credit card company each time you make a purchase, and only give that number to the merchant. When the merchant gives the VAN to the credit card company, they post it to your account.
The VAN is only good for that one transaction, and can't be used again. So theft of it is useless. Check it out on line... Google "Virtual Account Number", and begin shopping with greater safety.
Back Up and Running?
OK... So the headline is a bad pun. I've been having back problems for more than three months and have seen several doctors, most of whom keep piling on various pills to dull the pain or relieve symptoms. Nobody seemed to be able to address, or even figure out, the cause of my lower back spasms and aches. Run? Hell, I could barely walk!
Then one doctor actually suggested I see a Chiropractor. I was shocked! I've always considered these bone-crunchers to be operators in the shadowlands, outside the bounds of "legitimate" mediciine. ...Con men, charlatains, and quacks with little real help to offer. But, heeding the doctor's advice, I hesitatingly got a reference from him and went to seek yet another opinion and treatment option.
I wont go into detail, but let's just say I am impressed. This guy clearly is a trained professional with a distinct understanding of the human body, and is able to explain things clearly and logically. Most of all, the first treatment (or "adjustment") resulted in a couple of the best, pain-free days I've felt in months!
It's a little strange, but the problem is actually in my neck area... not my lower back. It's going to take some time... two or three months... but the goal is a complete cure with no drugs and no ongoing, repeat visits for the rest of my life. Sounds good to me.
My jury is still out on Chiropractors, but check "back" in a couple of months... I'm not a total skeptic any more!
The Fax of Life...
Am I the only kid on the block to get daily piles of spam on my fax machine? I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it.
I registered the number with the National Do Not Call Registery last year, but it didn't seem to help. To report violations, you need the number from which the call was made and the name of the caller. You get neither with a caller ID protected spam fax.
I tried calling the "Opt-out" number posted at the bottom of each fax. They were all different. After a couple dozen tries(answered by the same voice mail system, I'm sure) I gave up on that.
I tried to file a complaint with the state's Attorney General. Same problem... you need the caller's name and number!
So here's the latest idea: There is always a number to call to buy whatever they're selling. Why not just set my fax machine to automatically call that number repeatedly for 30 minutes, jamming their sales lines into uselessness? Then call and tell them that if they continue to send unsolicited spam to my number, I will jam their incoming lines for days, costing them countless sales. That should get their attention!
I mentioned in the aboved column on credit theft that Irene and I spent a week at Tybee Island earlier this summer. We were joined by some friends, and wasted several glorious days sitting in the surf and soaking up the sun.
For those of you unfamiliar with Tybee, it is the oceanfront area about 18 miles East of Savannah, on the Georgia coast. It is one of the most family-friendly, cleanest beaches we've seen, and the atmosphere is great. Nice little cottages for rent, and plenty to do in Savannah if you want to be really tourist-y!
Ed. Field Trip?
Next month I'll try to actually include some content related to advertising and voice work. We're spending some time right now visiting Philly and family, but I'm still cranking out the VOs using my portable studio. And Wallabee studio is helping me with ISDN jobs. Thanks!