If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (retired) with a specialization in Security. I also have a CompTIA Security Plus certification.
Why am I mentioning this? Because despite all that I know about Internet security and cyber crime, I myself have (embarrassingly enough) recently fallen victim to an Internet scam.
It started with someone’s Face Book account being hacked and they did not know it. I was contacted by the “bad guys” using this trusted friends Face Book Messenger service, and told that she had won a giveaway and I was also on the list. She sent me the link to the Face Book page (which was expertly spoofed) where I was fooled into believing I had won one of those many “Like this page and enter a contest” events. There were many signs along the way that now using 20-20 hindsight I can see were obvious. The problem was I was initially taken in because I really believed the contact was from my friend. At that point even though the signs were there, I couldn’t recognize them because my eyes were too filled with dollar signs.
And, honestly, I am not greedy or money-driven. I did not lose that much money, and I thank God that I finally caught on. I reported this to an Internet Crime site and when the bad guys tried to get me for more money, I wrote back that I was contacting the authorities and told them, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
I don’t feel humiliated- I feel humbled. Next time someone tells me about being scammed, I will certainly be more compassionate and understanding about it.
I share this with you all not only as a warning that anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can be taken by a well set up scam, but also to show there is also a spiritual lesson in this for us all. That lesson is this:
When someone promises you something for nothing, you will be the one giving something and ending up with nothing.
The enemy of God will promise us worldly goods: money, power, friendship, whatever it is that we want. The promise will be that we won’t have to do anything to receive this, except maybe worship him (or her?) or something that takes us away from Godly worship. That’s the hook, and if you take it you might end up, like I did, finding yourself too deep in to get out without losing something. In the case of Satan, what you might lose is your eternal soul. Much worse than losing some lousy lucre that won’t have any permanent effect.
So what is the answer to maintaining your security? Just that- maintain your security. If someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true, don’t accept it. It may be true, but verify it and do so using a totally different method. For example, if you receive an email or IM from a trusted friend with good news about a product or context, do not reply. Call them on the phone and verify that they sent it to you. And even then, don’t trust it- they may have been taken, too.
The Golden Rule of Cyber Security is this: you NEVER have to buy something to receive a free giveaway. If you are told you have won a contest but you need to send a retainer or purchase a gift card, whatever… don’t do it. It is a scam.
The Golden Rule of Soul Security is this: If it sounds like something the world would want, don’t accept it. You can be sure that whatever is important and valuable to the world is not valuable to God. Remember what Yeshua told us about how God feeds the birds and dresses the poppies in the field- if you are promised something of worldly value for nothing, you don’t really need it.
Such as a chip that will let you buy things faster and easier.
So stay alert, watch out for evil from everyone, and keep that armor of God on you (Galatians 6:14) all the time. I dropped my armor for a moment, and it cost me a couple of hundred dollars. A costly lesson, but a good one.
Please learn from me and not from your own experience.