So, I changed my email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fortunately, Google was able to forward my AOL emails for a month. I also noticed that my AOL account was eventually unfrozen. So, for about a month or so, I was able to log on to AOL and check email. Fortunately, most of you have kindly made the changes and started communicating with me on my Gmail account. I say “fortunately” because the hackers tried using the AOL account again. The account was frozen, again, so I am hoping that it stays that way.
As you know, I welcome communications with you—wherever I am. I count on email, as well as my cell phone (607-227-2479) to communicate with you. I pride myself on my accessibility to church members who just want to speak with their minister, regardless of whether he is in Auburn, Ithaca, Montreal, or Philadelphia…or somewhere on the road. I have had friends and family members who have endured similar hassles, as well as worse ones. One friend had his identity stolen while he was in the hospital. He learned about it when someone tried buying a Mercedes Benz in Florida, using his identity!
Our identities are important. We have a right to be able to communicate with one another, securely. Hacking into another person’s account is a form of electronic rape. It is a violation of our identities, and ought to be covered by stringent laws. Unfortunately, I have learned that many of the violations come from out of the country…even from places such as China and Russia. Have any of you had problems with identity theft, or, having your email accounts compromised? I would appreciate hearing them as I prepare my sermon for January 9. Privacy is important. However, there are some compromises that we must make to keep our identities (as well as our nation) safe.
Stan Sears, Minister