Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Scams and Spams

I'm naturally a bit skeptic of all things. Commercials rarely sway me. Emails never do. That doesn't mean I don't take notice of them. Some very official looking emails fall into my inbox, more and more lately. They often have links in their text, promising a quick fix to some ligitimate sounding account or order problem. I sometimes find it funny when I notice those links, when scrolled over, are not the same link that will appear in the address bar. If you click on a link from an email please – PLEASE – be sure the promised location is legit. Make sure the address is as you were told it would be to start. If at any time you feel a bit uncomfortable, there’s no shame in closing that window without giving a lick of information.

It's very important to be vigilant about checking the legitimacy of things these days. You never know when someone will think it all right to trick you into giving away a password or account information. A small shop in a near-by small town (actually if Hazelton Pennsylvania is considered small, this small town would be downright tiny) recently stopped accepting personal checks. Now where I’m from, we still use paper and pen, not plastic cards for the most part even if they do hand us that piece of paper back with words printed on it. I’ve been in that little shop enough to hold full conversations with the owner who also runs the place where I discovered just how many bad checks and false bills have been passed around lately. Not the large bills mind you, but small ones and for a small business even a small loss can be devastating.

I just have to wonder why people would do it.

Does anyone know the meaning of empathy anymore? You know, feeling of concern and understanding for another's situation or feelings.

When my first daughter was born and then diagnosed with ADHD, one of the main things I did – even without knowing – was teach her to think about how her actions made others feel. Like when she took her sister’s toy or shoved her down a hill. Even a three year old can comprehend how what they do has an effect on others. Funny, 14 years later and she’s a fine and compassionate, if a bit impulsive, teen. Empathy was the most important thing I taught her.

My best friend since the first grade (no kidding) always said I should be a counselor or psychologist because no matter how a person treated me or someone else, I could see their side, how they might interpret their right to treat someone that way. Instead I became a writer though maybe my knack for seeing both sides is the reason readers love my “bad guys” as much as my “good.” It doesn't mean I agree with both sides or even one side at all. It just means I understand why they would make the decisions they do. Then react not with emotions but coolheaded decisiveness.

I just wish the rest of the world would slow down enough to learn the same – both to not rush to judgment and to treat everyone as they would want to be treated.

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