Last night I clicked on...something...in the Google account that is linked to this blog. When I started the blog, Blogger and Google were separate entities. At some point they merged (Google bought Blogger most likely) and you were required to link a Google account to your blog. But, you couldn't link an existing Google account; you had to create a new one. Okay, whatever. So last night I was checking some settings and Google wanted me to fill in some info. It asked me for my DOB and, never wanting to put my real info, I chose the conception date for this blog which was in 2008.
Instantly, without any warning or an, "are you sure?" I got a message saying my account and everything associated with it had been disabled because I did not meet Google's minimum age requirement. "Oh for f*&#s sake!," closely resembles what came out of my mouth. I had 29 days to prove my real age to Google or they would delete my account, including the blog. The blog wasn't even viewable (and if you tried to look at it you were told it had been removed).
Google gave me 3 options to prove that I was at least 13 years old. I could give them my credit card number and they would make a charge of $0.30 in order to validate my age. I could send a copy of a government issued ID by fax or mail (then wait a week or two after they receive it for them to "process" the information). I could scan and upload a copy of a government issued ID (also waiting days or weeks for processing). I tried about 47 times to upload a very-blacked-out copy of an ID receiving a, "Sorry, there was a problem uploading. Please try again." message every time. Finally I caved and let them charge me $0.30. In less than a minute I had access restored. I'll be spending some time figuring out how to backup or save all these posts just in case I do something inadvertently again and incur the wrath of Google!
Note: I'm sure this was not a phishing scam but will closely monitor my credit card, of course.