I’ve known for a long time that some of what I write annoys certain people. This is why my Google blog was closed down at the end of 2012 with no good reason being given and without me having a chance of appealing. (And I can be very appealing!) Though I like to think that this getting up certain noses is all done in a good cause; by which I mean that I annoy our masters and others by bringing to the attention of a wider audience facts and figures they would rather were not aired.
This hostility I attract takes many forms. On the one hand there are anti-Welsh bigots hiding behind silly names like ‘Cliffoch’, ‘Scrumpy Ned’ and ‘Jacques du Nord’, but other times the hostility takes a more sinister form, such as when someone tried to bring down my blog last November. (Dealt with in the second item of this post.) Now I seem to have been the target of a different kind of attack, which I’m posting about in the hope that someone out there can help.
Last night I decided to overhaul my blog, spice it up a little with a few advertisements. While doing this I noticed something very odd had happened to my PayPal donations widget in the sidebar. Where ‘Option 2’ should have been there was a photograph. Don’t ask me who he is, I’ve got no idea. Does anyone recognise him? It could be that he’s as much a victim in this case as me, because I can’t imagine the person hacking into my blog or my PayPal account leaving a photograph of himself! As you can imagine, I immediately took down my PayPal widget.
This morning I logged in to the PayPal website to set up another donations widget. What I found there was perhaps even weirder than the mystery man, certainly more sinister. You will see below (click to enlarge) that on my page is an image of some kind of Nazi flag, with the caption ‘Your customer’s (sic) view’. Have visitors to my blog, or persons trying to make a donation, seen this, and thought I had put it up?
I know nothing about the flag or the mystery man, but I now suspect that the target of the attack wasn’t my blog but my PayPal account, which may have been compromised. I find this amazing. The password I was using (now changed) was the name and date of a battle that would mean nothing to most people. So if my account was broken into, then I doubt it was done using my password.
Fortunately there was little money in my PayPal account to be stolen, but perhaps that wasn’t the purpose of this stunt. Perhaps donations were ‘re-directed’? Or worse, could my account and my name have been used to launder money, buy drugs, child porn, God knows what else? Is it possible to just ‘borrow’ the details without leaving evidence on the account itself?
The matter has of course been reported to PayPal, and I’ll let you know how they respond. I’m debating whether to also take it to the police, but there are two arguments against that course of action. If this is the work of who I think it might be, then the police will just go through the motions of an enquiry. But however they respond, they may jump at the chance to deprive me of my computer for a few months.
All advice is welcome and, as I say, I shall provide an update as and when I can.
UPDATE 06.03.14: Progress – of a sort – has been made. First, I received a reply from PayPal. (Click to enlarge.) Not the response I had hoped for, but it could be a stock answer to such complaints in the hope that the complainant will go away and stop bothering them. I won’t. The next step will be an illustrated air mail letter to Omaha, Nebraska.
The second bit of progress was in identifying the guy in the picture. He is Carl Curtis, a football writer for the Echo and WalesOnline. Someone, via e-mail, even directed me to the image that appeared in my PayPay account. Now that I can see it in greater detail I see there is no swastika in the centre of the flag, but there can be no doubt about the design of the original on which it is based, or the political outlook of those involved. Among the catchy ditties on the album is Master Race. Though after what they suffered in WWII it’s difficult to understand Poles recording an album called Panzer Crusade. Unless of course they blame the Jews for the German invasion!
Putting it all together, I repeat what I said in answer to the comment from ‘Docks Soul’: “And he’s a Cardiff City supporter from Skewen, you say. Can’t be many of them! That’s almost in Swansea, just up from the East Side. So, given the locale (and who can be found there), the football connection, and the Nazi flag, this stunt is pointing in a very specific direction.”