Saturday was a pretty busy day for me. After my RWA chapter meeting (with VERY low attendance, I might add – totally embarrassing for our speaker), I picked up the baby and we went grocery shopping. Then it was off to buy cat food and to Lowe’s. I purchased the paint for his room since I had that $10 project starter card.
That afternoon, we hung out. I did laundry. He played games. I started dinner around 5 but because I was cooking a pork roast, it took FOREVER. It was nearing 7 pm and I had just taken it out of the oven to rest while I finished up dinner. The home phone rings.
It comes up a name and number I don’t recognize. I figure it’s a wrong number so I go ahead and answer – I rarely answer my phone if it’s someone I don’t know.
The guy says, “Michelle?”
“Hi, this is Ryan!”
“Ryan from MySpace.”
Immediately, I get that tingling feeling on the back of my neck. “How did you get this number?”
I hung up. But I was immediately freaked out. Shaking. Scared. But I tried to remain calm because I didn’t want to upset the baby. I finished dishing up dinner. We ate. I let him stay up and watch cartoons. I searched for the area code to see where this guy was located – Nebraska.
Even if I didn’t have my name on MySpace, he could have still got it from the book cover, the website. I thought I had my number listed as unpublished and unlisted, but apparently not. Something I intend to rectify this morning. But even if I did have an unlisted, unpublished number, he could have still found me.
You know why?
Because of a website called US Search. Find anyone, anywhere. Get background checks. Get phone numbers, addresses, criminal history. Whatever you want. All you need is a name and a general location and $40. I looked myself up and even though I didn’t pay the fee, I was shocked to see the results. They have every address listed for me since basically I was born.
And you know why? Because the moment you apply for a credit card, you can be found. The moment you have a driver’s license, you can be found. Think of things like the appraisal district of your county. It’s public record. You can get anyone’s address and anyone’s appraised value of their house. And now with the Internet and all this information at anyone’s fingertips…
Scary, isn’t it?
And here’s the real kicker – I don’t have my exact location listed on MySpace. So he must have really put Directory Assistance to work.
It doesn’t matter how safe you THINK you are or how safe you THINK you’re being in Cyberspace, there are still ways for people to find you. And we all know what sort of people walk this Earth these days. Some are just not very nice. Who’s to say he’s not a stalker? Who’s to say he’s not going to get in his car and drive down here? Then again, maybe it was just a prank his buddies put him up to. And maybe by me hanging up on him, it will deter him from taking further action.
At any rate, I did NOT appreciate the phone call. Nor do I appreciate him putting the seed of fear in me. NOR do I appreciate having to worry about this. It’s a definite wake-up call to the reality o the Internet. You really can’t be too safe.
And if all of this wasn’t enough, effing MySpace gave me a trojan AND a virus. So – HOORAY for MySpace. I had to make an emergency phone call to the Brother to find out what to do and luckily, downloading Ad-Aware fixed me up. It quarantined the trojan and all is well once again with the computer. I managed to clean the virus off as well.
I’m seriously thinking of just formatting the HD and starting over with a clean slate. I’ve recenlty backed up most of my stuff but I need to do a total and completely backup of the entire MyDocuments folder just to make sure all is well. I’ve also decided I should probably invest in an external hard drive and a USB hub (the hub because all the ports are taken up in the back of the computer). I could use the external hard drive to back up important documents once a month.
Anyway – I knew better than to download crap onto the computer. But I leanred the lesson once again today. NEVER EVER download ANYTHING from ANYWHERE no matter what. At least the computer didn’t crash and I could perform serious damage control before anything really bad happened.
The coffee pot is calling me…I need it. And why does it have to be Monday already?