Service of Paying Attention

November 10th, 2011

Categories: Cheating, Paying Attention, Suspicion


November 5th marked the third birthday of this blog. In the 312th post, it seemed fitting to recognize its life with examples of the benefits of paying attention. That’s what the blog–and what service–is all about.

On our home fax last week came a query to: “Director/Owner From: Editor/Director Office” signed “Sincerely Corporate Office Publishing Department.”

It began: “We are pleased to inform you that your business has been selected to be included in the 2011/12 edition of Who’s Who Among Executives, Professional and Entrepreneurs nationally.”

At the bottom of the page the fax asks for your name, that of your company, address, etc. and a signature. Instructions are to fax back the

So our business has been selected but the sender doesn’t know its or our names? Right.

Meanwhile, my husband got a call from his credit card company also last week. The rep wanted to confirm that a charge from overseas from a travel company was his. Amount: $6.37.  It wasn’t his charge so the company cancelled the card and issued him a new one. Speak about being careful and paying attention!

scamThe rep told him that scammers start with a small charge and if it goes through, they launch a big one. A colleague pointed out how much you could bring in if you got $6 from 100,000 people–tax free, no less!

Where/how do you think the creeps got my husband’s credit card number? Friends guessed from a restaurant charge receipt. Have you examples of payoffs for paying attention?


6 Responses to “Service of Paying Attention”

  1. GBS Said:

    You make an excellent point, often made but never often enough.

    We live in a world in which advances in technology seem more and more to outpace our ability to control and manage what we have created.

    As with the sharp credit card company you describe, there are some people paying attention. An organization to which I belong, The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, recently redesigned its website, and as a consequence, I had to go through the process of picking and establishing a new password to gain access to it. When I did, the website automatically graded the degree of security afforded by my new password and gave brief suggestions on how to make it more secure.

    Whoever dreamed up that seemingly nit-picking idea deserves three gold stars! It was simple, probably not that expensive to add to the website, and oh so reassuring that they are paying attention to detail!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Glad to hear you had a good experience with the new website. I belong to an organization that changed its password configuration to the info for members only without telling anyone. They eventually did, but you can imagine the chaos meanwhile. Nobody was paying attention!

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Most card companies are becoming vigilant if for no better reason to save themselves money. Responsibility, however, falls mainly on the card holders shoulders. Any activity involving money deserves the closest scrutiny. It’s surprising that so elementary a fact has at last found its place in the spotlight only since scams and identity theft have become a big time part of the scene.

    Not yet mentioned is the necessity of being aware of ones surroundings focusing on what’s going on in the immediate area. Pickpockets are fond of bug eyed tourists and/or careless natives whose pockets bulge with wads of money. One would think with so much publicity, people would learn. Victims of street scams are not scarce, despite publicity, and enough folks continue to respond to personal questions from unknown telephone entities, so as to bring nuisance calls to the rest of us.

    Paying attention is highly important, and always has been, but without its partner, common sense, it is useless.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    So true, Lucrezia,

    Common sense is always wise.

    I’ve been pickpocketed a few times. These people are amazing. Some are so talented that even if they warned you that they were going to take your wallet, you wouldn’t feel them taking it.

    My husband didn’t lose his wallet or credit card and I don’t think he uses his credit card to buy things on line as I do. He returns to the same places for gas and food. So how they got his credit card number…maybe they program a computer to punch in random numbers…is a mystery. I buy from chains and some have been virtually broken into so that credit card numbers are at risk and accessible to perpetrators. No amount of care on my part will stop this kind of activity. The only thing to do is pay attention.

  5. David Reich Said:

    Jeanne, congratulations on 3 years of blogging. And thanks for sharing your insights with us.

  6. jeanne Byington Said:


    I enjoy doing it. You encouraged me to get started + I’ve never regretted it. Thanks!

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