We've all seen the emails - spam, that is - from the person we've never heard of who suddenly wants to give us millions of dollars, just because.
They usually start out with some sort of sob story about how the sender is dying and can't trust anyone in their own family; or the 'legal representative' (rarely says attorney or lawyer) who wants to send you money on behalf of some client. You've never heard of them but somehow they've decided you are the person to benefit.
We know they're scams and, other than the entertainment factor of seeing how they're trying to convince you to turn over all your personal identifying information and bank account numbers, we usually delete them, perhaps blocking the email address.
I expect, with a public email that I use for my blog and on air, that I'll get my share of these messages, along with a host of others. But the most recent twist on these scams really set me off.
I've now received three emails, all claiming to be from members of our U.S. Military, stationed somewhere overseas. They claim to have come across some cash that they want to ship home - but they need help. The first one claimed to be a Marine who wanted my help because he'd found gold and could convert it there in Iraq, but still needed someone in the U.S.
While I'm certain that no group of humans, including our military, is perfect, I hold our military in high respect and don't believe the vast majority of them, having come across someone else's treasure, would steal it - and then enlist my help to bring it home..
That some scammers believe this shakedown approach would be successful says a lot about what they think we think about our U.S. forces. Do they really think we'd believe that our soldiers and sailors, airmen and guard would behave in such a deceptive manner? And, if so, what gave them this impression?
Perhaps they think we'd believe the subterfuge because we put our faith in those who willingly offer themselves for our protection. But the scam's efforts to turn that trust into a way to take advantage of us sorely underestimates what the American people believe and expect from these brave individuals who serve in the armed forces.
I don't believe anyone reading the scam email will believe it's really a member of the U.S. military. In fact, knowing how most people think of our military, using this approach is more likely to ensure the email gets delated. And that's a good thing, because the recipients won't get caught up in the con game.
It's also good because it proves that, regardless of what others may think, we have the utmost confidence in the men and women sworn to protect our Constitution and our lives. They have earned our trust and respect.