Thursday, February 5, 2009

How much can YOU spare?

Have you ever gotten one of those emails that starts out Dearest One? The ones I mean always come from Zimbabwe or some other far off land. At least they’re far away from where I live.

They either go two ways these emails. They say you have won such and such an amount and just give us your information and we’ll be happy to deposit this money in your account. Oh, by the way, just one small thing. We need you to pay a fee in order for us to send you the money. That’s not a problem right? Or they say we desperately need your help and can’t you just send something? My father was unjustly… My brother is being held unjustly… (Just fill in the blank with some horrible country/government/prison/accusation and we’re in business.) Those second emails always like to invoke the name of God in some way. We’ll be praying for you. God bless you. God loves you. Well thank you.

I know God loves me. I appreciate you asking Him to bless me. I even thank you for praying for me even though I’m not real sure what someone I’ve never talked to would pray for on my behalf. It’s still a nice thought. Oh, I’m sorry, what? You want me to give you money? I forgot that part…

This morning I was reading a story from the odd news section that I have on my homepage and it made me think of those emails I receive by the boxful every day (I’m glad they aren’t actual letters and are just on my computer. I think my mail lady would refuse to come to my house if they were real letters. I get that many). A man in Beijing has been arrested for swindling an American out of $109,700.

Now the story doesn’t say that he used emails to bilk this caring, kind person out of what was probably their life savings. But it reads exactly like many of the emails I’ve received in the past.

He told his victim (that’s the only way I can seem to see this poor person that lost so much) that during the Nationalists’ rule of China he was a provincial governor. He went on to say that he had government connections and that those connections could help to unfreeze assets that were being held in the United States. He just needed a little help. Money. Big surprise there huh?

Obviously they sent the money otherwise this story would never have been written. I don’t understand how they thought it was a real thing. A little research could have given them all the answers (like the fact that the Nationalists’ rule of China ended in 1949 when the Communists took over power). If we were talking about my money I would know every detail of every step. I’m stingy like that. I just don’t like to part with my money.

In a sad twist (at least sad to me) the man that did the scamming is 99 years old. 99! What in the world would a 99 year old need with that much money? I know people live past that age but come on, it’s more likely that he won’t be around too much longer than it is that he’d be living the high life on other people’s money. Can you see a 99 year old out on the town partying it up? I certainly can’t.

The Chinese courts did take his age into consideration. He was released on bail and allowed to go home. The interview by officials was done at his house rather than making him go to court. They will have a trial though and if this man is found guilty he could face 10 years in prison. That would be a terrible way to end your life. I find myself feeling sorry for him a little. But then I remember what he did and my heart goes out to the person that lost their money. I think it’s just a lose-lose situation and I feel sorry for everyone involved.


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