Don't let greed blind your judgement

Tina Haapala |

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I want to be rich. Not a little rich. The kind of rich where I can donate enough to have a building named after me.

In other words, I’m a little greedy. Oh sure, I think about all the charities I’d support, all the community projects I could fund, and all the people I could help. But I also think about the submarine I’ve always wanted and that hilltop in Hawaii that I’ve had my eyes on. I’m guessing that most of you have a little voice inside you that says, “If I just had more money I could…”

And crooks are counting on it.

That’s why swindlers hoodwink so many people. You’ve heard the expression, “If it’s too good to be true, it is.” Yet we really want “it” to be true. Whether this is winning a lottery or raffle you don’t remember entering, or having a radio or game show call you randomly, or that email from someone who needs some help and will pay handsomely for it.

Maybe you’re being let in on the ground floor of an incredible investment. Maybe the offer is coming from a well-known company. Maybe you need to make a decision soon or someone else will profit instead of you. Maybe the call comes from a friendly face, the letter on official stationary, or the visitor is immaculate in dress and manners. Maybe the e-mail has all the trappings of a firm you do business with. Maybe it is true. Maybe your ship has come in. Maybe this is the moment when your life will change.

And maybe it is a fraud.

One thing these wish-grantors will warn you about is to keep quiet about your good fortune. They may do this by forcing you to accept the offer fast, before you can talk about it. Or it might be some sort of secret. Maybe even a little illegal…”but no one would be hurt”. Or perhaps your winnings will be voided if word got out prior to everything being official. No matter how they do it, they’ll dissuade you from letting anyone else know.

And if I remember my nature shows, the predators strive to separate the target of their hunger from the herd.

Don’t allow them to do it. Call your family, call your friends, call your advisor, call the Better Business Bureau, or call whatever regulatory body regulates the business. Legitimate bearers of good news aren’t scared of a little investigation. Legitimate offers don’t disappear because you are careful and prudent. However, your hard-earned money might, if you’re not.

This article was published in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on March 29, 2015.