Trouble 101

Every semester I have a nemesis. I am not sure this person knows they will be my scourge for the term. In some cases, I suspect their purpose in life is to annoy adults who give them homework. Some are simply clueless, and to them I try my best to be kind. 

I have learned to spot these troublesome souls early. First day, first five minutes. They are the ones who talk in a whisper to their neighbor over whatever I am saying. Or they make an unkind remark about some part of my plan for the term. Or roll their eyes. Or hold me 15 after class asking searching questions about obvious stuff and make me late for my next session. 

Meanwhile, the net has trouble spots of its own. Mike gave me advice on dealing with a few problems I’ve run into lately. I had a whole list, but here are just a few: the “Amazon” email in my work inbox that said I’d run up $888 for books even though I had not ordered any. Mike’s advice there was to put it in the spam folder and forget it.

What “Amazon” and other fake businesses do is hope to get someone anyone to click and then they’ll go for your financial info. It’s the Internet version of a phone call where they say they’re your bank and they need to verify your account number.  Online, if you just put the email into spam without clicking anything, that’s enough to stop them.

Another sort of new and troubling email has been popping up in my Gmail account. In this one, the writer seems like a real person who has read my blog. They call me by name, say they love my writing, site a particular post, and mention that they have a link I might like to use in relation to the post. Sometimes they offer to pay me $100 for the link.

I showed one of these to Mike and told him about the others. I said they all seemed connected to the same online degree program. He did a quick check & said they probably are not even people writing to me. Just a program that generates friendly emails. Again, just file in spam was his recommendation.

The $100 was offered to be paid through PayPal, which is how I receive legit payment for online work, so this one seemed a little more above-board than fake “Amazon.” Except I don’t do commercials here. If I link to an author, book, or website, it’s because I like them, not because they offered me money to insert a line of text and a link into my post.

Now I have to get ready for class and especially for that student I can’t put into a spam folder.

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  1. I am going to remember your last line the next time I meet someone “I can’t put into a spam folder.” Too perfect. Thanks, too, for the hint to put unwanted emails in the spam folder. I wouldn’t have thought of that and often wonder what happens if I just delete it.

    Good luck this semester.


  2. Cindy, online scams and weird mail are often connected. I am extra careful of everything like that. Some pieces of spam are clearly childish pranks (“I am respectfully writing from the Republic of Nigeria concerning your overdrawn bank accounts …”) but some are more sinister.

    Hope your new term goes well, and that your quirky students straighten up! 🙂


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