Thursday, August 11, 2011

Technology keeps outsmarting me.

In the past two weeks alone, I've had to wrangle with internet-based phishiness, Facebook phonebook shenanigans, and a new round robin of urban legends.

I completely understand why some people just opt out of the whole social media/online world/electronic communications schtick.

1. Facebook's Phonebook Fiasco: Facebook is "enriching" our social lives by grabbing ALL cell numbers from our smart phones and posting them on our Friends page. I saw something about this yesterday, then friends have begun posting alerts and instructions on how to remove those details from our pages. 

Go to the top right of the screen, click on Account, click on Edit Friends, go left on the screen and click on Contacts. All phone numbers from your phone (FB friends or not) are published. Click "visit this page" under Phone book Contacts on the right side of the page - then choose "remove contacts".

Now, why does Facebook want this personal information on MY page, visible to anyone allowed to see it? Because they want to "help me" get more Friends, more viewings, more feelings of connection to the world.

I suppose that I'll start getting all kinds of telemarketing and inappropriate calls on my cell phone now. Joy.

2. We had two charges show up on our checking account after someone phished my PayPal account. No, I did not respond to one of those ridiculous emails asking me for passwords and personal info. Someone else did. And because they allowed a hacker to see THEIR PayPal account, somehow that person was also able to get into MY account and request money. Turns out this is well known by my very responsive bank and "find the right FAQ if you can" PayPal, which promptly refunded the money. My bank said they get calls like this ALL DAY. I've changed passwords, my financial connections with PayPal, and continue to monitor our transactions daily.

Which is pretty darned irritating, when you think about it. Having to go into checking and credit card accounts that often is time-consuming. But it's the only way to prevent fraud as it's happening. My quick actions meant the two fradulent transactions were the ONLY two ... my bank says often numerous transactions hit long before account holders notice.

3. Great news! U. S. companies operating call centers overseas must transfer you to a U. S.-based rep upon request! I've had several people tell me this with great glee, saying "I know this works!" Actually, it doesn't.  Wish it did, because that would mean more U. S. jobs AND fewer scripts ("have you rebooted the computer, ma'am?").  You can ask, but likely you'll just get the person sitting next to the first person you talked to. In India. Or wherever.

Those are the current aggravations. There are many, many more, including the one just waiting to pounce tomorrow. Or the next day.

Progress is outpacing intelligence and caution. At the same time various levels of government, from school systems to Congress, move at a snail's pace, technology is racing ahead with the next cool thing.

There has to be a better way.


  1. A friend shared with me Facebook's response to the issue, which is that the only cell numbers that will show up are those that friends have placed in their profiles (why would they do that?!?). However, I researched before and after this post and found multiple news sources with varying degrees of "yeah, that happened to me." AND when I checked my contacts, there were some for people who are not Friends in my list. I default to caution ... when I deleted contacts, the list went down substantially, until the only ones listed were indeed friends who had posted their cell phones. Could this be a hoax/internet scam? Maybe so, and yet another opportunity for technology to bug us all.

  2. Ok, THANK YOU for posting about the FB contact issue. I wasn't aware of that. *sigh* I'm REALLY beginning to despise FB. I tend to stick with Twitter these days.

    Anymore, when I do access FB, it's from my phone, which is an Android "smart"phone. I happened to look at my profile one day and noticed my cell number. Umm, I did NOT provide my number, so WHY is it there? I edited my profile and deleted it. I've had to do this more than once and it STILL occasionally returns.

    After your post here, I sent to check out my "contacts" list. You can't view it from a mobile app or version. So, I chose a browser on my phone that allowed a desktop view. (I'm at work and they've blocked FB. Meanies!) I accessed the area you stated and was flabbergasted! All of my cell contacts, including my fave Chinese restaurant, doctor's offices, my bank's phone number and so forth were listed intermingled amongst the phone numbers of my friends list.

    Unfortunately, the link that states "visit this page" also states that you need to make sure that syncing is switched off. Ok, that's fine and dandy but only the blasted iPhone is mentioned. That certainly doesn't do those of us that don't use iPhones any good at all now does it? Does that mean that my privacy is null and void? I'm not shutting off my "syncing" option to my phone because FB isn't the only application that is synced! Grrr! Mark Zuckerberg is going on my poopy list soon!

    Thank you again for sharing this. I wonder as to how many others are unaware of this information being put on display for all to see.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts - it's great to hear from you!