Reading E-mail? Scam-sniffing Skill Is Required
Since a long time before the biblical patriarch Jacob conned his blind old father Isaac, and thus shafted his brother Esau, a nose for the tell-tale smell of a scam has been a serious asset in this fallen world.
Why should we be surprised in this e-mail and internet age that scam-sniffing skill is as essential as a computer, tablet, or smart phone?
Here, let me show you. I’m opening my in-box. Hmm.
Well, for starters, anything marked in all caps, “URGENT” or “IMPORTANT,” isn’t.
Something someone sent from “Claims” asks, “Is this your money?” They already know that it is not. But they’d like to make a good bit of my money their money.
“OurTime.com Dating” tells me that someone may be REALLY interested in me. I could have told them that already. My wife of 39 years has long ago expressed mild but lasting interest.
One note refers to me as “Dear Sweetie.” I don’t believe I’ll answer. (See the previous paragraph.) Another sender is checking to see if I got my check for “$5,645.” Nope.
Anything from someone whose first name is “Mr” or “Mrs,” usually followed by a Middle Eastern or African-sounding name, wishing you “GOOD DAY” in all caps, and informing you that their personal secretary has been instructed to release funds on your behalf . . . Well, they do want a release of funds—from your bank account to theirs.
A number of folks seem concerned about my health. A couple of companies want to tell me about SECRET diets that “all my friends are talking about.” If diets are what all my friends talked about, I’d look for less boring friends.
One company (lacking in punctuation skills) wants to send me a really comfortable knee brace. And one seems also to think I need to diet and wants to send me, uh, I hate to mention this, some kind of an “amazing bra” with incredible support.
Health-wise, I see an e-mail or two of a more legitimate nature from some of the many folks who seem sure that “wellness” is a real word somehow superior to “health.” Personally, I am healthily skeptical about that.
Yes, and here come a couple or three more GOOD DAYs from a couple or three more “Mr” and “Mrs” folks. One has been “tiring to reach” me on the phone, but has “deemed it necessary” to resort to e-mail to tell me of my amazing good fortune and to ask me to send information—and money.
Hmm. Dr. Somebody just sent me a long treatise extolling the virtues of a belief in reincarnation.
Somebody else wants me to know “Seven Ways Your Phone Is Harming You.” I can phone in more than seven ways without reading the note.
Let’s be careful out there in cyberspace. And remember: a written word from our Creator has been available a lot longer than e-mail. And it’s worthy of our time and our trust.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at