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  • Writer's pictureBy Aline Yamashita

QR what?! Future shock is real

Ignore it. Typically, that’s my reaction to technology’s speedy rush into the future.

Yes, I have a cell phone, a desktop and an iPad. But knowing the latest about the latest – I’m not your person. Interest in deciphering the language is not in my DNA.

So, typically, I ignore requests for information or upgrades. But not this time. Nope. Huge mistake.

An email popped up saying my online account needed updating. Seemed harmless. And I actually understood the message. I responded.

The message came with the Bank of Guam logo. It was followed by an actual phone call – with a BOG number. But when BOG branch manager Patrick Cruz called, I froze. I instinctively knew I had made a bad decision.

His keen attention to details had him and his team wonder about several withdrawals – all the same amount –over a couple of days.

I checked and sure enough, money was missing. Patrick’s customer service skills are superb – especially with a baby boomer who doesn’t care to be scolded or take the time to understand stuff she’s not interested in. He hears. He is able to detect anxiety. He responds. He encourages. He repeats and repeats and repeats.

Perhaps, I remind him of his grandmother – I don’t know but he and his team identified the problem and provided the solution. Biggest lesson: if a message doesn’t have a Bank of Guam email address, ignore it — regardless if the green carabao is present.

As I reviewed the email I was supposed to ignore, he was right. The email address was not Bank of Guam. But the logo was. The devil is in the details.

So my online account was frozen. Procedure. I had just gotten accustomed to paying bills online. Now I had to download and print statements. Luckily, I remember how to write a check, albeit my handwriting is award-winning chicken scratch.

After a certain period of time, I was allowed to return to online banking. Fortunately, Patrick’s banking expertise was able to revert the stolen funds. He and his team took care of my account as if it were theirs.

The thieves did not give up though. They continued to send me email telling me to update my account. I forwarded each message to Patrick who always responded with a reminder about what not to do. He reminds me of patient teachers who know how to reach the intimidated students who need guidance the most.

Technology is great until it isn’t. It seems like upgrades happen all the time. For many, it’s simple. For me, it can be overwhelming. Trying to access an online publication, a message popped up that I had to upgrade or access or something in order to get to the subscription. I tried following the directions but it didn’t work.

Finally, I connected with technician Gino at Compacific. Mr. Manouchehr Sabeti has really good technicians who know how to work with tech-challenged folks like myself. Gino texted that he was happy to help. Gino’s customer service skills are excellent. For years, he has helped us understand and upgrade. He has solved many problems – especially for Eric’s world where internet exploration and escape games are soul soothers. Gino delivers as if Eric was his family. So have Roger, Nick, Ben, BJ and Celina.


Tech has infiltrated pleasures like lunch. Rod told me I had to scan the menu. “Use the QR scanner on your phone.” “My what?” The major general patiently explained. Then Mike, senior research policy analyst, shared the cards that he and Dorothy place in their wallets to stop electronic pickpocketing. “RFID what?” UOG vice provost Dee smiled and nodded. She knew all this. And, me? Teacher Aline has so much to learn.

Yes, technology determines our quality of life from fuel to meat supply to connectivity to vaccinations to ordering food; but know that people, thankfully, still make the difference.

Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and a former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at

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