I was almost scammed this week; here is how it happened… I have a pool table that I wanted to sell on Craig’s List. When I listed it, complete with pictures, I immediately got a text from a person saying he wanted to buy it and would pay me $50 extra to hold it until he sent me a check a few days later. He said he was on a business trip and couldn’t come and see the table but knew he wanted it because it was a good price ($250). I thought it was a little strange, but then again thought it was plausible. The next text I got said that his secretary had made a mistake and added the price for shipping the table onto the purchase price, so I would be getting a bank check for the whole amount- over $1500. Hmmm. He then texted that when I got the check, I was to immediately wire the amount for shipping to an address he would give to me. Obviously red flags were going off all over the place at this point.
When I got the check he told me to wire the money to a guy in Alabama, who was supposed to be the shipping agent of a company in Illinois. I told him to forget the whole deal and that I wasn’t wiring any funds to anyone and was, in fact, going to take the check to my bank and refuse it. He told me to stop the foolishness and just deposit the check- nothing could go wrong! My bank examined the check and though it looked legit, they told me that in order to refuse the check I had to take it to the bank that issued it. So I went there and they did a little research and found it was fraudulent and destroyed it. They told me that if I had deposited the check in my account and then wired the $1200, my money would have been gone without a trace and I would have been left with a bunch of fees when the bank found out that it was a bad check. I was a victim of fraud; “a deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, which is both a civil and criminal wrong.”
The Bible talks alot about the sin of defrauding our neighbors, our spouse, and the poor. It is easy to recognize fraud when we are victimized by it, but I wonder if we recognize it when we deceive or rob or oppress the people in our lives of what is rightfully due to them? I wonder if God could indict us like he did Israel in Malachi’s day of defrauding Him of our tithes and offerings?
Anyway, my last text message to this person who tried to defraud me was “You are a fraud and have been found out, but Jesus loves you.” An appropriate word to preach everyday to the scam artist in me.
By the way– anyone want to buy a pool table? Such a deal!