Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's a Scam Shame

We have a very strict policy about talking to strangers; we don’t. Unless they talk to us first at Tractor Supply, need to check our funky looking moles while Doctor Mark is on vacation, or are cooking our pizza. Strangers ain’t all bad, just the bad ones are, but I have no talent for telling one from the other crooks, cheats, and mad dog killers.

Sherwood, the husband around here, is great at identifying skunks and scammers. I’m not sure it counts though; he suspects everyone constantly of everything always. He’s a hard case.

I admit to having weak stranger-danger moxie.

I’m pretty sure that everyone raises butterflies and enjoys watching goldfish swim. I like to walk the extra mile and give people my coat/cloak/Banana Republic shrug, and then they punch me in the eye. I’m a dolt.

It’s true. I’ve befriended a few mad dog losers over the years. One young teenage scammer turned out to be living a secret life. It wasn’t a secret life of charity work in Calcutta with Mother Teresa helping Untouchables. No. It turned out he was the local, neighborhood porn distributor to under aged children and kittens. 

Why is it that people living secret lives are never living GOOD secret lives? Sigh.

So now, there’s a whole world of scam artists and mad dog killers living secret lives, wandering around, out there . . . in the virtual world of my computer.

I’m still a dolt.

Guy emailed me because he found my profile “interesting.” Wanted to be buddies. I saw that we have one mutual friend. I think, “Sure. Sure. Okay, here’s my coat and my watch, but it needs a battery.” 

So I responded.

“Sure, I’ll be your friend unless, of course, you’re a mad dog killer, then no; I have to draw the line somewhere.” Har. Har. Har.

He replied and thanked me for my “kind” response.

And then he emailed me his entire life story. A plot that I’m pretty sure I recognized from a romance novel I read in the eighties. (Rich, successful, widower, lives on or near a boat, darling little girl, looking for women . . . friends.)


My response wasn’t kind. It was funny and quirky and mildly rude like everything else I write. But it was not kind.

Bells went off. 

I ran the cyber incident by my son-in-law.

He said, “Sounds like Scammy McScammer from Scammers.com. Why did you answer him?”

“I don’t know. I was thinking about butterflies.”

“That’s your problem right there. Start thinking about the Craig’s List Killer.”

Very wise. Very wise. 

But it’s so tempting as a writer and maker up of plot twists and red herring runs not to write to Scammy McScammer and say, “Oh, Scammy, my husband was kidnapped by Barbary pirates twelve years ago and declared (dramatic pause followed by the sound of lace muffled sniffling) dead after seven years after which I wore basic black for five years, and now I’m a wildly young, mildly beautiful, achingly lonely widow, who is RICH.”

You know, scam the scammer.

Except this guy is probably on the up and up and that would just make me a virtual jerk.

So from now on my response to these inquiries will have to be. “Nope. No friend for you.”

Linda (Mooncalf) Zern

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