By Alex P. Vidal
“Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.”—Diane Ackerman
WE can’t blame some giant media networks in the United States if they have been reporting “live” about the Hurricane Ian like the world was about to end.
Hurricane Ian really was monster and one-of-a-kind.
Some Filipinos in the Philippines with relatives in Florida who monitored the wrath of Hurricane Ian in these US media networks have been burning the lines to check for their loved ones in the southwestern coast of Florida, where the super hurricane made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm near Cayo Costa as of this writing.
It’s reportedly one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall on the west coast of the Florida peninsula.
Strong or weak (hurricanes are always considered strong), Americans have always feared hurricanes like an invasion or Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Unlike Filipinos who are used to having no electricity in the far-flung hinterlands and remote areas and can fend for themselves for days if hit by super typhoons, Americans have nightmares with power outages during calamities.
It’s always been a case of give me electricity or give me death.
For many of them, losing electricity amid the storm is near death or a melt down.
All their life they have lived and survived in electricity.
They have relied on electricity for their interior lights, water source, toaster oven, washing machine, refrigerator, heater, air-condition, computer, among other modern household apparatuses, gadgets and appliances.
Our heart goes out to those trapped in their houses without electricity now that the extremely dangerous conditions that the hurricane has unleashed, so far, including catastrophic floods and life-threatening storm surge, will reportedly continue as the storm advanced inland. Reports said some areas could see the worst surge forecast on record.
As of this writing, Hurricane Ian has weakened to a Category 1 hurricane as it moved across central Florida, the National Hurricane Center said as reported by CNN. The storm’s sustained winds were reportedly down to 90 mph.
Ian was now centered about 70 miles south of Orlando. East-central Florida, including Orlando, was also under a tornado watch through 1 a.m. ET September 29.
Overnight, widespread tropical storm-force winds with gusts above hurricane force will continue to impact central Florida, the hurricane center said as reported by CNN.
AMERICAN Express or Amex is now investigating the unauthorized charge of $75 in my credit card from the “Philippine One Health Pass” which is reportedly a scam. I have disputed the charge and I expect Amex to resolve the matter first week of October.
Immediately after I made the dispute, Capital One warned me through e-mail to “look out for the latest payment scam.
“With scammers becoming more sophisticated, you’re the first line of defense for preventing scams,” Capital One wrote. “By recognizing these five common tactics, you can protect yourself and your money.”
The five common tactics referred to by CapitalOne are:
- Rushing cryptocurrency investments: Scammers can pose as investors to sell you on a lucrative cryptocurrency opportunity. They’ll give you a short time limit to invest, but will keep the money you sent for themselves. If they’re represented by a company, contact them from a trusted source, like their company phone number.
- Faking job offers: Job listings or offers could have a scammer behind them. During the hiring process, the scammer will ask you to link accounts to other banks and send money they promise to refund. Don’t be pressured with time-sensitive demands or high salaries. Instead, contact the business with a trusted phone number or email.
- Gaining remote access: Scammers claiming to be from well-known companies can try to gain remote access to your personal devices. If an associate from one of these companies cold calls you claiming they can fix an unknown issue, ignore the call and contact the company directly. Be sure to use a phone number from a trusted source.
- Compromising business email: Scammers can impersonate a company official to request a change for your account by email or text. Don’t call the number provided in the message. Instead, find the company’s official number from a trusted sources and validate that the request is legitimate.
- Impersonating a Capital One associate: Some scammers will pose as Capital One and use email, phone or text to request your personal information or to transfer money. When in doubt, ignore the message and call us at the number listed on the back of your debit card credit card or bank statement.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)