III. Purple Dude Gets Granny Finch Off the Hook

It was a clear, windless morning on Lake Mead, and Grandpa Finch was showing Jason Q. Finch, a.k.a. Purple Dude, how to look for fingerling shad.

The bright morning sun was reflecting off the calm water’s surface with glaring intensity, but when he looked straight down from the shadowed side of the boat, Jason could see shimmering clouds of small fish.

“Who says you can’t catch fish in the desert,” Grandpa Finch said, as he helped Jason cast his lure into the school of fish.

Jason may have been a computer genius, but he couldn’t figure out how his lure was going to hook one of the small-fry shad. It was the same size as the other tiny fish.

He watched as the shiny lure startled the live school of fish. After a few seconds, the real fish started ignoring the artificial lure. Grandpa Finch then showed Jason how to make his “fish” look weak or injured.

“Slow…quick, quick…slow,” Grandpa Finch said. “Now it looks just as helpless as I do when your Granny drags me out on the dance floor,” Grandpa Finch chuckled.

All of a sudden, the line went taut, and hundreds of shad broke the surface. “We got one!” Grandpa Finch said, as dozens of powerful stripers rose up from the depths and tore through the school of smaller fish in a feeding frenzy.

Granny Finch beamed when she saw the digital picture of her grandson, Jason, holding the big fish he had caught on the wide screen TV.

But then the phone rang. It was the fraud department for Granny Finch’s credit card, checking on an attempted wire transfer of funds to a remote banking account.

“No, I most certainly do not authorize that transaction,” Jason heard Granny Finch say. “Yes…oh dear…yes. Okay, thank you. Good bye.”

“Let me guess,” Grandpa Finch said. “We’re going to have to chop up our credit card again.”

“Yes,” Granny Finch sighed. “And now I’m going to have to wait even longer to get that rumba CD delivered.”

Jason wondered why Grandpa and Granny Finch had such bad luck with their credit card numbers getting stolen—three separate fraud attempts in as many weeks.

Suddenly, Jason felt a flash of inspiration. “Granny, did you try to order that rumba CD online?”

“Why, yes,” Granny Finch said. “Your Grandpa is going to help me show off what my new hip can do at Aunt Susan’s wedding next month.”

Jason could feel himself morphing from just your average boy genius into Purple Dude, a superhero who helps people with any computer problem, large or small. Within seconds, his fingers were flying over Granny’s keyboard.

The email that Granny responded to linked to a Web site called www.ready2rumba.com. But a Google search revealed another Web site that sold Rumba music, too—www.readytorumba.com.

Except for the fact that the second site used the number 2 in the Web address, instead of the letters, “t-o,” both sites looked identical.

Jason, a.k.a. Purple Dude, zeroed in on a key difference. The order form on the fake site was not secure. It started with “http://” and not “https://” and the browser did not display the little lock icon that shows up with secure pages.

Granny Finch had been phished!

“Oh dear,” she said. “The email just sounded so wonderful. They were going to throw in a Cha-Cha CD as a bonus if I replied within 48 hours.”

The offer was like a bright and shiny lure, and Granny Finch fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

Luckily, Granny Finch wasn’t fooled into giving out her social security number. That could lead to a full-blown case of identity theft that would haunt her for years.

Jason notified the owners of the spoofed Web site about the scam, and within days, the fake site was pulled down.

Granny Finch used her newly-issued card to order her Rumba CD from the secure page at www.readytorumba.com.

And the site’s owners were grateful enough to throw in some bonus dance music—not just the Cha-Cha, but some Paso Doble CDs as well.

Now the only one still on the hook was Grandpa Finch.

The Paso Doble CD arrived. And as the strains of bullfighting music filled the air, Granny Finch eyed her husband with the intensity of a determined bull facing off against a nervous matador.

Jason watched his grandmother click her imaginary castanets as she cornered her husband near the sofa. And he knew that, like it or not, Grandpa Finch was going to be learning some new dance steps very soon.