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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Internet Safety – Scam, Con Alert

I recall as a child keenly looking through the letterbox in the hope for a letter addressed to me; for some meaningful correspondence that might satisfy my yearning for connection. That same need continues in me today; I’d venture to say most reading this now have that same yearning—to be found special enough to others that they would want to connect.

And this innate motivation, one that’s possibly not identified at the level of our awareness, is one precise detail that scams and confidence tricksters play on.

Ever been promised a spot on the Who’s Who of Whatever? Flattery and compliments-beyond-reason are the key ploy—then, wait for it, comes the request for personal information: an e-mail address, phone number, postal address, etc... Any detail about us that transforms that ‘foot in the door’ (the flattering remark) into the ‘deal’ they really have in mind.

Deceit is the modus operandi and cooling off periods are off the agenda.

Like odds of winning at a casino, this is a game where there is only one winner—it’s not going to be us.

Being Wary Without Losing The Purity Of Our Trust

Whilst there are many in this world who would fleece us quicker than look at us, there are many more we can actually trust. Discerning who to trust, and when, is the key.

Those we can trust don’t need our information—they come with little on the agenda, and they are not manipulative. By this is meant, coercion is not the method used in interaction.

Any sense of coercion or manipulation, by anyone, even by family, should be as an alarm bell to us to watch out; to be alert for the trampling of our needs and the elevating of theirs, usually by stealth.

Those who we can trust end in a way in which they have started—friendliness is couched in complete transparency with no sign of coercion or soliciting of personal details. There is no issue on the agenda. But inevitably, we will need to unreel our trust a bit at a time.


Social media provides much more opportunity for scam tricksters to enter our lives. Their methods vary, but watch for unsolicited mail, flattering remarks and offers, unreal deals and, worst of all, sly requests for our personal information. We ought to be suspicious regarding anyone we don’t personally know, especially when they offer something “too good to refuse.”

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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