Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't scam the Lions...

Last week many of us received an email supposedly from International Director Gary asking for our help as he was stranded in Madrid.  We all know ID Gary travels a lot and he's not shy about asking for our help, but this email had "scam" written all over it. 

First, Gary wasn't in Madrid, but in Milwaukee at the USA/Canada Leadership Forum.  And if you've ever gotten an email from Gary, you know it would probably be written something like this:


"Fellow 39ers,
I am visiting Madrid and speaking to Lions clubs here about getting new members and handing out potato pins....by the way, I need some more of those if anyone can get some...I lost my wallet and I've been trying to talk the hotel into letting me entertain with some jokes....they're not buying it....so I really need you to send me some money, eh?
Thanks,
Your ID from ID"

But then, would ID Gary really need our help?  I bet he could convince the locals, wherever he was, to lend a hand.

All joking aside, email scams are big business.  There's the Nigerian who needs somewhere to send his cash, the lottery winner (send me money, I'll send you the prize), and the "I'm in trouble" scam (I'm stranded, I'm in jail, wire me money). What's scary is that the bad guys usually don't imitate ID Gary, but try to convince you they are your son or daughter or your grandchild.  They appeal to your emotions, tug at your heartstrings, and play to the good in all of us that wants to help, and therefore, often succeed in squeezing money from the best of us. 

Don't let it happen to you.

If a friend or relative emails or calls asking for money, be sure to verify who it really is.  If you get an email, call on their cell phone.  Ask a question that only your friend or relative would know the answer to.  Use other sources to determine their whereabouts.  Ask another friend for their opinion.  Keep your emotions in check.  Read about some of the latest scams on the FBI website or at snopes.com, one of my favorite websites, and be informed. 


And, by the way, Gary, some Lions will be trying to convince you they sent the money because you promised to pay them back...Don't do it!  It's a SCAM!


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