I received a message from a Facebook friend that said he was stranded at the London Heathrow Airport. He was penniless and needed more money to get back to the states. “Could I help?” he asked.
I responded that I would be praying for him, but that I couldn’t help him financially. I felt good about my decision. I didn’t have any money to send him and I didn’t have a good feeling about his request. I rarely communicated with him, I didn’t know he had gone to England, and most people in need turn to good friends, family, their church, or immediate social circle.
Well, as it turned out, my friend’s Facebook account had been hacked. Someone was using his account to make the same request of many people and this deceiver hoped to shear as many sheep as possible. That hacker tried to boondoggle me!
I remember receiving an email from “Barrister George Newton Esq” from the “UK.” Wow! The subject line read, “THIS IS MY THIRD AND FINAL EMAIL TO YOU.” The email was impressively signed, “Yours in Service, Barrister George Newton & Associates (Esq) Executors and Advocates UNITED KINGDOM CROWN COURT. PRINCIPAL PARTNERS: Barrister Aidan Walsh.Esq, Markus Wolfgang, Mr. John Marvey Esq, Mr. Jerry Smith Esq.”
Apparently, I had been willed a sum of 30 million dollars. Previous emails from other people also indicated that large sums of inheritance awaited me through a simple transfer of funds into my account. In order to receive the money, I had to send a mere $500 or so to enable the transaction. Gosh, with all this money waiting for me, I could buy at least a castle or two!
Then there’s the “missionary” in Spain who needs a loan of $2,500 to help with her sister’s hysterectomy; there are all kinds of “Esqs” who need help with wire transfers of millions of dollars (and they need your account numbers, too); there’s the “Apostle Sister Elizabeth Sinbi” who’s dying of cancer, but somehow has 2.5 million she wants me to inherit after her death from cancer. I only have to help her financially before she dies. With all of these folks, “it’s the same circus, different clowns.”
I’d like to ask some of these masked bandits, “Isn’t there enough heartache in the world without adding more hurt?” I know several people at a church in mid-Tucson who were scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. From Internet cafes around the world, the scammers want your savings, your next mortgage payment, your child’s college fund, and anything they can get their hands on.
Bottom line: “He shall know the truth by his reverence for the Lord” (Isaiah 11:3 in the Jewish bible, the Tanakh). Also, Christ said to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). As we are truly disciples of Christ, He gives us wisdom. I’ll write a blog soon on an overall plan to acquire insight for dealing with less obvious scams and for navigating other of life’s difficulties.
What are some of the creative ways in which people have tried to scam you? How did you handle their deceit?