A boat-owner of my acquaintance received a text message today. [A text message is a new-fangled form of telegram sent to a telephone, using technologies that need not concern us here.] The message, which I have redacted, read:
Hi, Boater, Waterways Ireland is currently data protecting the boat register. Please confirm your boat registration number S[????] by replying with your email address or to stop text WWSTOP to [?????].
This is not a type of communication that is familiar to me: if it were genuine, I would have expected some more formal message, perhaps a letter or a Marine Notice, to emanate from Waterways Ireland. Furthermore, the phrase “currently data protecting the boat register” is nonsense. And the acquisition by the originator of the boat-owner’s email address does nothing to validate or update the register of boats on the Shannon.
Accordingly, I regard this with deep suspicion, and I have advised the owner to ignore it. However, the owner tells me that the registration number given in the message was correct. That might mean that some evildoer has gained access to the Waterways Ireland register of boats and is now, for some unknown but nefarious purpose, seeking to match email addresses to boats.
I would be glad to hear from anyone who knows more about this. I would also be glad to be assured of the sanctity of WI’s boat register.
Update 13 May 2017
Usually reliable sources tell me that the communication is from Waterways Ireland and represents an attempt to check and update their register of boats. Two points, however, remain:
- I cannot tell [though others more skilly in these matters may be able to do so] how the, er, lay reader can be assured that such a communication is genuine
- the communication is itself unclear: I would prefer a more explicit statement of what WI is trying to do and what the recipient is expected to do.