I was hacked again! At a gas station*
Yet another great reason to use your smartphone to pay
The e-mails from the Chase fraud department were frequent and scary.
Did you really spend $155 from a company called Drippery on 10/25? Say yes, and all’s fine. Say no, and “we will close your current card and send you a new one.”
No matter that it was day 2 of our two week road trip, and we needed that card to pay for hotels, food, gas and all those gifts Ruth likes to buy.
My first impulse was to ignore and just deal with it when we got home. Then I checked my account (via VPN) and found too many bogus charges. A company called “SleeplessnightTZCL” had zinged me for $143. There was $59 for “Omerta.” And the hits kept coming.
So I gave in, and let Chase close the card, my beloved Sapphire Reserve the one that now pays 10 airline miles for every travel dollar spent! The bank promised to get a new one right away to our motel. And yes, I have a back-up card, so it’s not as painful as it sounds.
But when I get home, I will need to deal with updating too many accounts that do auto pay and let them know the new number. One by one. There’s no good that comes out of this.
This roadside escapade shows why it’s more important than ever to use mobile pay instead of the physical card.
I can’t prove how we were hacked, but I have a sneaky suspicion. *It had to be some easy on, easy off gas staton where I swiped the physical card into the pump. Because that was the only occasion I physically took out the card and swiped it. Sadly, gas pump hacks are a known problem. I let my guard down!
Because beyond the pump, everywhere we’ve been the past week has accepted mobile pay. Even on old Route 66. Even at tiny Esther’s Cafe in Joseph City, Arizona!
So note to self and readers: next time, walk into the gas station and pay at the counter. It will take a little longer, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Remember that with mobile pay, the card never leaves your hands, so it feels way more secure. So far.
And the rule for gas stations: pay cash. It’s cheaper and way safer that way!
On the road, I’ve been putting together Photowalk episodes from Arizona and New Mexico. I did post a photo essay from Flagstaff, a cool and under-appreciated Arizona mountain town, on a Flipboard Storyboard. More to come soon!
Ten top photo tips with Phil & Shappy
Speaking of Photowalks, the latest episode debuted this weekend, where I show Phil Rosenthal (“Somebody Feed Phil) and Adam (“Shappy) Shapiro, the beloved actor and pretzelman, my favorite ten smartphone camera tips. It’s a different sort of photowalk—we got as far as Phil’s backyard and Shappy’s pretzel factory, but it’s fun. I hope you’ll tune in and check it out.
ICYMI, the second season of Photowalks so far:
Tech highlights of the week
It was fun reading up on techworld from the road.
There was the sad—Apple would have beaten sales records, but couldn’t get enough supplies to fulfill demand, to the ridiculous. That would be Facebook changing its name to Meta, and planning for a “Metaverse” that very few people get. Kevin Roose of the New York Times did a nice analysis, where, by his telling, the name change and strategy shift actually makes sense. (I still think it’s rather silly. Because let’s face it—Facebook is the Social Network, period. Virtual reality headquarters? I don’t think so.)
Nude photos on your smartphone! Remember the brouhaha earlier this year when Apple said it would introduce an update that would flag nude photos on teens iPhones to their parents, and report child-abuse photos to authorities? There was a loud outcry over privacy issues, and Apple quickly did an about face and stalled the update. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the coin, Google said this week it would make it easier to stockpile photos privately. It will introduce to Android and iPhones a new feature letting you password protect sensitive photos like nude pix in what it calls a “Locked Folder.” Google says this will come to Android phones soon and Apple next year.
Shameless Plugs of the week
I appeared on two great podcasts this week (recorded before I left,) with Ant Pruitt on the Hands-On Photography show, talking my favorite smartphone photo tips, and sitting in again with Frederick Van of This Week in Photo, for a follow-up on using the iPhone 13 Pro as a pro camera. Please have a listen!
As always, t]hanks for taking the time to read, watch and listen! Let me know what you thought of today’s edition with a HEART or reply. Next stop: Taos!