The devil made me do it? Geraldine Jones — aka Flip Wilson — was fond of telling her boyfriend Killer that it was the devil that made her do it when she bought a dress or did something she wasn’t supposed to do.
The devil was always charming and so persuasive. I tried that gambit with my wife once when I wanted a new fishing reel. It didn’t work — not even close.
Her response basically said that if the devil made me do it then the devil can pay the bill because it wasn’t coming out of our account.
A recent scam started with “ Dearest one, God has sent me to you and I need your assistance.”
It went on to offer 15 percent of a tidy fortune if this person would help them get all of the money out of the country.
Another one — we have a package that we tried to deliver to you but were unable to do so. The package is being held at the Port Authority Customs House and requires you to contact us at the attached link in order for it to be released.
Or ... my name is Bob and I have recently been visited by the Holy Spirit and have undergone a true and deep conversion. I have realized how selfish I have been with my financial fortune and now see that in order to be truly happy and at peace, I must share it and show others how they may also prosper.
And, because you are a religious organization, my company is willing to let you have office equipment at no cost and my partner company will send you lawn care equipment to use also at no cost.
We have sponsors who will cover you. In order to stay straight with the government, I need you to sign this agreement and don’t worry about those clauses because they really don’t apply in this case.
Sooo convincing and sooo easy to be pulled in. You can truly make a difference and help. Just click on the link or respond to the email and guess what?
You have, at the least, let them know that this is a legitimate, functioning email address and they will continue to send you stuff. If you don’t know the person sending you an email, if you don’t recognize the link and if it still looks too good to be true.
In all of the Jason Bourne movies, he was able to go anywhere using fake IDs and passports. In Houston, and I suspect even closer, it isn’t hard to find someone who can print you any type of official-looking document.
I watched a super techie create a completely phony company complete with a history, customers, inventory and glowing reviews. I instantly became the well-paid head of a multinational, multimillion-dollar corporation. If only it were true.
Sadly I watched him delete it all. Unlike Geraldine, we can’t blame the devil for falling for a scam, wanting to get something for nothing or trusting a person or situation without doing our homework.
For some it’s prey on the people not pray for the people.
Remember: Think, prepare and execute crime prevention designs. Don’t become a crime victim.
Walt Candelari is a police officer with Dickinson Police Department. He is writing a series of columns on creating an environment of safety from burglars.