I got an interesting email from someone on Facebook yesterday. Its someone who is not a close friend, but a person that I would call a strong acquaintance. Apparently she is stuck in Scotland, had all of her stuff stolen, and needs money to get back home.
Immediately I wanted to help her. If I were stuck in Scotland, I'd want someone to help me out. That's a dire situation to be in.
There's a problem though. As I read the email, it didn't really add up. Everything was stolen, but you still have your passports? You took a trip to Scotland with no return ticket? Furthermore, the wording of the email was such that it just didn't seem like it was from a destitute person on the other side of the world. It felt a bit like a hoax.
She had sent me an email, I wrote her back on Facebook, and she wrote me back assuring me that it was indeed her, and that she needed the money. I was ready to send it!
Then, Crystal picked up her cell phone, called our friend, who picked up her phone in Vancouver Washington. She was not in Scotland. Someone had hacked her account. Man, the guile of some people.
This kind of stuff gets me steamed. Taking advantage of a good natured person and lying about being in a situation just to get my money? Not cool. Not cool at all.
We talked to our friend this morning and she said that she has got so many calls from so many people willing to help her out. She said in a weird kind of way it was pretty encouraging to see how many people were willing to be with her in her time of need.
Here's the deal- I think most of us when given the opportunity to help someone out, if we have the means, would help someone. What we all are, is very very reluctant to help when it seems as if the person that is asking for help is lying, or being deceitful. We want to help, but we don't want to be taken advantage of. It situations like this one, that reinforce the notion that people will sometimes take advantage of us for their own selfish means.
Here's how I really knew that it was a hoax. It looked like one, sounded like one, smelled like one. Upon verification it was proved to be a hoax.
The nugget? God wants us to help people. He wants us to reach out to people, but I dont think that there is anything wrong with verifying information. Just because you want to see some proof doesnt mean you're not a loving person. It just means you want to make sure someone is really in Scotland before you wire the money.
What's that mean? Be cautious, but still help people. People who truly need help have no problem verifying or describing their peril in such a way that you can rest assured they truly need your help. Dont be afraid to ask a question or verify something.
Be blessed, and change your email passwords to something difficult so you dont get hacked like my friend.