Have you ever had “one of those days?” Everything seems to go bad . . . and then it gets worse! I had one of those evil days not too long ago that just seemed to draw the energy right out of me! I’m sure most of you can identify with this. Those of you who can’t, just wait! Your day may be coming!
Briefly, the day started with my email not working properly. Normally not a big deal, just an inconvenience. I contacted AOL technical help (so I thought) to resolve the problem. Long story short, it was a third party that scammed me to fix the problem and clean up my computer. I specifically asked if they were AOL technical help and they said they were. They got me for a few bucks (I feel so dumb!) and never fixed the original problem!! Later on I got in touch with the real AOL who addressed the problem. Some of you may be wondering why “AOL.” My address is still “verizon.net” but they have gotten out of the email business and shifted their customers to AOL. That actually was at the root of the email problem.
While all of the hassle with my email was going on, I experienced a problem with my bank card. I found out that it had been put on hold. I had no idea why, of course. After several calls to the bank, I found out that they put many accounts on hold who, like me, had recently received a new card with a chip in it. They said they did this to make sure everyone had authorized/ validated their new card? Interesting strategy! At any rate this situation was fixed. Again, not a major crisis normally, but I was already frustrated.
Later on, though, came the real annoyance. I received a call supposedly from the IRS saying that I was being sued for fraudulent returns from 2002 through 2005. I might have been suspicious of this right away, had I not been audited for one of those years about eleven years ago. After they read me a whole lot of frightening legal charges and allegations they said I had two options. I could either settle things over the phone to the tune of $2,400 and change, or I could get a lawyer to represent me. If I chose the latter option, they said the police would be arriving in about 45 minutes to arrest me. Now I was getting very suspicious, although a little rattled. I did not pay anything, of course, and hung up the phone.
In retrospect I’m a little embarrassed that these things got to me, but they did. Two scams in one day along with a couple of technical clichés. FYI – If the IRS calls you like this, just hang up. And, if you need technical help for an internet problem, read the IP address very closely to make sure you are going to the right people. As far as technical clichés goes, I have no advice. They just happen! Perhaps turn the computer off and come back tomorrow! Sadly, so do scams! There are a lot of deceitful people out there just waiting to con someone and make a quick buck.
As I thought about this business of scams and scam artists, I came across a very interesting article. The writer wrote, “I’ve been a securities regulator for twenty years, and I’ve seen more money stolen in the name of God than in any other way.” The Pew Research people also report that many of the people leaving the church and religion today are doing so because they think that the church, religion and the Bible are a big scam. Sadly, much too often, these allegations are true – up to a point. All too many church and non-church people have used God and religion to scam away donations from wellmeaning and vulnerable believers. The greater tragedy is that in the process they are scamming some people of their faith, or others from becoming believers. To me this a new facet of “evil” that we pray to be delivered from when we pray the Lord’s Prayer. In this petition we pray that the Lord would deliver us from the evils of body, soul, property, honor and faith. Lord, deliver us from deceitful scammers who may rob us of our faith and salvation!
How great to know, believe and trust in the God of truth and His Holy Word. The great scammer and deceiver, the evil one, would cause us to doubt, disagree and reject God and His Word. Lord, strengthen our faith and deliver us from evil. Your Word is true! Unfortunately, as long as we are in this world we shall have to endure many deceptive lies and destructive evils. Through God’s Word and Sacraments, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can endure and overcome such evils and threats. On our own we are in grave danger and cannot overcome the scam of sin!
Lord, deliver us from evil! May your servants depart in faith and peace according to Your Word. May our eyes behold the salvation won for us through Jesus!
~Pastor Dennis Krueger