Last week, I let everyone know my computer had been hacked. I’ve said enough words about that (except that the hacker hasn’t taken me up on the offer to teach him how to write grammatical extortion demands), so let me vent on something else that was exacerbated by that unfortunate experience.
Part of my process in mitigating the damage done by the attack on my computer was to try to notify Yahoo and to follow their directions for assuring I’d done everything correctly to protect against another such attack.
Everyone, including Yahoo, needs to understand that a certain percentage of their users do not speak computerese. The second thing Yahoo should recognize is that some of us who were not raised with computers as surrogate nannies occasionally need to speak to a living, breathing human being. And I fall into both of those categories. Squarely into both categories.
I’ve used Yahoo for years as one of my email addresses and have had relatively little trouble. Until, that is, some idiot revised their whole system. Things that were easy to find are now hidden or camouflaged to make them more difficult to locate. Even when I ran into trouble, there was a telephone number to Technicians who lived and breathed and had blood flowing through his or her veins. It might take a time or two, but they always successfully talked me through the solution to whatever problem I might be experiencing at the moment. That telephone number was 1-866-562-7219. However, I tried it one day and received an automated message saying the line was no longer supported and referring me to Yahoo’s web site for instructions.
For the past three months (possibly longer), I’ve had trouble retrieving emails from the Inbox. I "left-click" on the Inbox … nothing happens. I hit the refresh button … nothing happens. In order to receive these messages I must hit the red X (actually it’s white on a field of red) in the upper right hand corner, pull Yahoo up off the Toolbar again, click on Mail, and lo and behold, the site deigns to release my emails from hostage. My computer service support people tackled this at least three times, and got it to work properly for a maximum of one day before it reverted to form.
Two weeks ago, I decided this was Yahoo’s fault, not my computer’s, so I tried to contact them. Easier said that done. It’s simple to get help if all you need is change your password. No problem. Change it all day long, if you want. But try to report a problem such as this one…good luck. I futzed around for half a day pushing this button and that, looking for sites they directed me to check...only to be unable to find the damned things. Then one day, I received an automated message saying since they hadn’t heard from me in forty-eight hours, they assumed the problem had been corrected. Corrected! I hadn’t even heard from them and the problem not only still existed, it had never been corrected. So I sat poised over my keyboard to give them a piece of my mind, only to find this was a “non-responsive” address that only sent mindless messages without accepting replies.
With a heavy sigh, I tried to go through the process again. Haven’t generated any other sign of interest from them. Not even from a dumb address that talks but doesn’t listen.
Then came the Day of the Hacker. This was serious enough of a problem that it was imperative I reach Yahoo to make certain I’d done everything possible to keep someone from taking control of my computer again. When I finally located a line that asked about messages being sent "asking for money," I thought I’d found Salvation. Instead, I found a response that said to “change my password.”
Larry Greenly, a friend from SouthWest Writers and someone much more computer savvy than I, found a number for Yahoo in Sunnyvale, California which looked to be the company headquarters. So I dialed 408-349-3300. A pleasant (robotic) voice welcomed me to Yahoo and then gave me three options: Press 1 if I had a problem or question about any of their products. Press 2 if I knew my party’s number and press 3 for any other questions. I pressed 1 and got a message to dial 866-562-7219 for Customer Service. Does that look familiar? It’s the number that says it is no longer supported and to refers to the web site. Well, it still says exactly that!
I called California again and tried option three. That response doesn’t even bother to refer you to a non-functional telephone number, it flat out says go to the web site. I called a third time and punched “0,” which sometimes gets you to a living, pulsing operator. No such luck. The "call the 866 number" message is simply repeated. I gave up.
If anyone from Yahoo reads this lonely cry, please respond.
Next week: Well, I got that out of my system, so we’ll see what next week brings.
New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.