Unbelievable! I received a phone call the other day that I have been selected for a prize! (as a reward for paying my bills on time in the last 5 years) of 2.5 million dollars and a Mercedes car. The caller asked: ‘Would you prefer a green, blue or red colour car? Of course I said a red one please, – it is my favourite colour for a car! Otherwise I prefer green. The caller then verified my address and name and asked whether I would prefer a ‘private’ or ‘public’ award presentation of the prize. I prefer ‘private’ that way no one will know I am about to be a multi-millionaire. The caller said that they would be right over to present the cheque and drive me to the bank to make the deposit in my account. I checked my watch and noticed that it was 5:30 PM and said: Sorry the Bank is closed, and proceeded to tell the caller that I considered this a scam call and hung up.
You ever have a call like this? I have, many times. Oh, they vary in format and presentation. Some are the SIN (social insurance number) calls whereby my SIN status is questioned and I should press 1 to get more info. Some are from Revenue Canada (CRA) notifying me that I need to pay a certain sum or else?……… The one I like the best is the Amazon credit card call where I am told that the Amazon Security Department has noticed suspicious activity and the attempted cashing of a ‘gift card’ on my account. My standard reply for this one is: ‘Oh, that must be my cousin cashing the gift I gave him. It is OK, just let it happen’, end of call. There are others with various scenarios like that.
The ones that are really annoying are the ‘duct cleaning’ calls. These happens again and again in series and then it is quiet for some weeks and then start again. Very annoying! In the beginning we would say did you say DUCKS? No, we only have geese not DUCKS! In the beginning it was new window and we would joke about having a place with no windows….etc.
Some people have had calls indicating a friend or family member (grand-child is the favourite) is in a tight spot and needs money right away or else……… so please go and buy a gift card or similar product, take a photo of the numbers and code on the back of the card and forward that by email to the caller and your friend etc will be very pleased and happy you could help them.
Or what about the Microsoft Technical Department call telling you that you have a virus (or bug) in your software that needs to be corrected and they are willing to help. Just go to your computer and follow their instructions to correct this problem. If you do this they will ask you to insert ‘code’ that will lock your computer and then they will offer to unlock you for a payment of hundreds of dollars………..
This all is crazy…….. and I have not even told you about the scamming emails and or the friendly guy at your local shopping center who can supply you with a cheap laptop (or whatever……..) show you the box and when you pay him and go home to use you new purchase, you find the box filled with pamphlets and other papers only.
There are a thousand different ways to scam and defraud us, the public.
The first time I was scammed by one was back in 1965 on my honey-moon at the New York World Exhibition. I was approached by a lady all dressed up with American flags and military dress sort-of and said she was campaigning for aid for war veterans, could I give a donation, and when I did was rewarded with a small paper US flag. I was had; and the funny thing was, after it happened (it was fast) I knew right-away I had been scammed. I felt used and stupid!
I know that was small potatoes but we read of these things all the time.
There are: The Romance scams. I love you sent me money I’m in trouble etc….. The Employment scam…The Rent an apartment or Vacation scam………The Overpayment scam……..The Phishing scam, asking for your info or response by clicking on LINK (don’t do it!) pretending they are someone familiar or there is a reward if you do….this is probably the oldest and most used scam since Emails and Texting messaging were invented…………. and so many more!!!!!
Best advice the experts give is: ‘hang-up’, if you do not recognized the caller put down the phone, ignore pressure tactics: like you need to do this right now or else…….. Don’t click on the LINK in your email or message you do not recognize the sender or have ever seen it before. Be smart usually a ‘gift’ could be a ‘ploy’ to scam you!
Even if you know all this, you could be scammed, impersonated or robbed as they say in broad daylight. The evil is out there and they are continually finding new ways to deceive us.
We read and hear of people whose identity was stolen and the trouble they had to right the wrong. This one may become very very serious. Protect yourself as much as you can, hold your personal identities (cards, info, credit, telephone access, computer passwords in a safe place) never assume that no-one is watching. Always be on your guard as much as you are able. Multiple verifications are now necessary to identify the rightful owner of a bank or purchase order type of account when using the internet and the phone. Single passwords access in some cases are now doubled password-ed or voice secured to protect the owner and how to access private and privileged information.
Other scams are more brazen and bizarre, there are photo-shop and video face trimmed events created to make you look bad or untruthful or where you are simply attacked (picked on) for easy prey. As was the news the other day, where a lady out shopping, was approached by two men who threatened her and then asked for her car keys. She complied not wanting to be on the receiving end of the threat and the two (young) men drove off (no, stole) her LAND ROVER in broad-daylight.
Well by now you get the drift that we are living in UPSIDE DOWN communities. The streets and even our homes are no longer a safe place. No front door should be unlocked anymore. People now do what they want. Truth and trust are lost. Lies and trickery is practiced and takes place even in the highest places of our land. Just think of ‘Make America Great Again’ lies and innuendos, the US election fraudulent statements, the Russian (Putin says he is ‘liberating’ the Ukrainians) denial of military actions in the Ukraine, denials of wrong doings even by our elected representatives. And should I dare to mention the ‘Freedom’ event we saw in Ottawa earlier this year! Misrepresentation of everyday facts and events! PROTECT YOURSELF!
The Psalmist also was already discouraged by the evil and lying done in his days: Book of Psalms number 14 *: A protest song – of David!
Wicked and foolish man truly believes there is no God. They are vile, their sinfulness nauseating to their Creator; their actions are soiled and repulsive; every deed is depraved; not one of them does good. The Eternal leans over from heaven to survey the sons of Adam. No one is missed, and no one can hide. He searches to see who understands true wisdom, who desires to know the True God.
They all turn their backs, walking their own roads; they are rancid, leaving a trail of rotten footsteps behind them; not one of them does good, not even one. Do the wicked have no clue about what really matters? They devour my brothers and sisters the way a man eats his dinner. They ignore the Eternal and don’t call on Him, rejecting His reality and truth. They shall secretly tremble behind closed doors, hearts beating hard within their chests, knowing that God always avenges the upright. You laugh at the counsel of the poor, the needy, the troubled who put their trust in God. You try to take away their only hope, but the Eternal is a strong shelter in the heaviest storm.
May a new day, a day of deliverance come for Israel, starting with Zion. When the Eternal breaks the chains of His oppressed people, the family of Jacob will rejoice, and Israel will be delighted.
And one of the earliest scams of all: Book of Genesis chapter # 27 – the story of Jacob scamming his father Isaac for the blessing of the first-born birthright. Oh, the misery that followed.
I am not downhearted or fearful, there are many good neighbours and friends and family members that I and you the reader know of. So be not discouraged always be careful. Living comes with many choices. And God is good!
JS June 11, 2022
Note *: Psalm translation: The Voice
The title picture by: an Unknown author is licensed under CC BY SA