Hello Dear

caution

I am generally against internet scammers, credit card thieves, and Queensland Ministers of Roads. I think they are inimical to civilized life. I would also add the telephone pests who try to tell me that my computer has viruses, that I owe the taxation department money, or that I need solar panels. I also do not wish to hear that I have missed a parcel or can be compensated for being in some unspecified accident.

Jeepers, guys, lighten up. I paid for those viruses to be in my computer, the Australian Taxation Office sent me a whacking refund, and the whole flipping roof is solar panels. I could arc-weld on a sunny day.

But I do have a soft spot in my heart for any Nigerian who addresses me as Hello, Dear. I get little enough flattering attention these days – any one who pinches my bottom or buys me a cocktail is in with a chance. Of course, if it all boils down to me supplying a credit card number, I end up thinking that I can do that to the hobby shops that sell toy cars and have a better chance of happiness  than any scheme to get gold bars out of a safe deposit box in Switzerland.

Perhaps the Nigerians should start offering me out-of-production Highway 61 or Solido cars and trucks. Tempting me with Franklin Mint one-offs. Sending pictures of 1:18 Chevrolet’s in saucy positions. THAT would get my credit card out and quivering…

The only really focused scam that ever tried me was just this sort of thing. I had bid on a Linhof camera in an eBay auction and missed it…and then a second chance offer came through. It was from a different address and I became suspicious. I asked a number of questions about the camera that I already knew the answer to, and that could have been answered by someone with the actual device in front of them. All the answers were wrong. So I sent a sweet note declining the offer and waited until another real sale was possible.

In fact the only real scams that I have ever fallen for involved personal friends who borrowed money or utilized my professional services with no intention of ever paying anything back. The money lost or the feeling of being used was painful at the time but the lesson learned was invaluable. It has immunized me against any number of financial infections…

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