Dealing with the red banner of death…suspicious emails

There you are, minding your own business when one fine day you get an email from a client…”hey, your emails are coming to me with a big red banner that says the content is “Suspicious” and that you might be a hacker and that I shouldn’t open your email…what gives?”  You will, naturally, assume that the problem is THEM, not you…nothing wrong with your emails, must be THEIR computer.

The day the earth stood still...

The day the earth stood still…

Then you get another email from someone else telling you the same thing…what’s going on here?  You start looking looking under your keyboard, checking this and that, nothing seems to be out of sorts.  You google “why is my email being marked with a big red banner that says it’s suspicious…” and you discover there is a whole big world of red bannered suspicious email problems out there, and now YOU are part of that world.

If you remember the Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine routine about the phone company…one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy…then you remember the punch line:  “We don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the Phone Company.”  Well, you can apply that to any bizillion dollar tech company these days.

So, to make a long story short, Google decided that little old me might be a bad-guy hacker and started quarantining all my emails…I almost lost a project when my client didn’t get my proposal on time…and I had to pay my tech guy a small fortune to come over and monkey around with Google and their impossible to understand instructions to fix something that didn’t, in the end, fix anything.

What I really loved was the Google support person who was suppose to call 24 hours later to see if the problem was solved (it wasn’t) and instead sent an email giving me links for a completely different problem, and then closing out my case so that I would have to start calling all over again with someone else…thanks a heap!

In the end, it turned out that my standard email signature line suddenly made Google unhappy and the minute I removed it, the red banners went away!  So did a couple of weeks of my life and $500…but they don’t care…they’re Google, and they don’t have to!

By the way, if you are on the receiving end of one of these email banners, please do tell the sender immediately…it can, sadly to say, mean that either nothing is wrong with their email or that in fact, a lot is wrong…as in their account has been hacked.  They will need to check things out to determine which is which.


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