Tragedy and phishing — or how a good Saturday has gone wrong

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ridetherideaucitizenThe world isn’t always fair. Bad things happen to good people, and bad people can cause havoc and distress. Today has turned into one of those days.

Things started early — and wet enough — as I prepared at 6:00 a.m. to head out for the Ride the Rideau cancer research fundraiser. The Ottawa Hospital had built in a rain day option, but decided to proceed with the event on a blustery Saturday because the forecast indicated the rain would eventually clear, and in any case, there would be no dangerous thunderstorms.

We don’t know if the rain caused the fatal accident of one of my peer riders, or (yet) exactly how the dump truck on the rural road took the life of theĀ 40-year-old cyclist. I know, however, that the death has put a damper on the event that raised about $2.5 million for cancer research. Obviously, when you participate in events like this your objective is saving, rather than losing, life.

I completed the ride, nevertheless, and with wobbly knees and an aching body took on the next challenge — sorting out the mysterious transfer request of $100,000 from my company’s US account to our PayPal account. Of course, we don’t have anywhere near $100,000 cash in that account. My suspicion: Phishers who caught me at a moment of vulnerability when dealing two weeks ago with another PayPal security issue, have started playing around with my company’s bank accounts.

Achh. I called the bank’s phone support and discovered more problems — it seems that the US tax identification number on file doesn’t match the one we’ve been using with our tax returns. In the end, it looks like I may need to visit a branch somewhere in the US with documentation in hand to sort things out. Hours and hours of “run around” with the bank to sort out a problem caused by evil people with no moral scruples.

It’s Saturday, nevertheless. My wonderful wife appreciates that today, after cycling more than 100 km, I’m in no shape to walk the dog.The little problems we have here — including the banking chaos — don’t equate to the anguish and grief undoubtedly experienced by the family of the cyclist who died while seeking to contribute to her community.

Right and wrong, good and evil, hope and despair — we cannot find easy answers when bad things happen. However, I can certainly respect the experiences. I’m an optimist so I believe some good will come out of today’s problems. Sometimes, however, life sucks.

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