276 – October 3
“Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.”—Gilbert Keith Chesterton
I was robbed at gunpoint one evening after work.
It was dusk, about six o’clock, and I had pulled into my parking space in the underground garage at my condominium. I was about to open the trunk of the car to get some things, when I heard a deep voice behind me say, “Give me your money!” (This is not one of the affirmations I teach in my workshops.) My heart sank as I realized I was about to live out one of Los Angeles less desirable statistics. Sure enough, I turned around and there was this big guy holding this big gun.
Well, I figured robbed was bad enough—I wasn’t going to go for murdered—so I handed over my purse immediately. Next he said, “Give me your jewelry” and I gave him that, too. Then he ordered me to lie down on the ground. I didn’t like that very much, but hey, he had the gun. As I laid down on the cold cement, heart pounding, a neighbor drove into the garage and scared the robber, who took off running. Whew!
I dusted myself off and went immediately to the building manager’s office and reported the theft to the two gentlemen in the office. They were very upset, called the sheriff, and asked if they could get me anything. I said, “Yeah, honey, I need a cigarette! Mine were all in my stolen purse.” They bought me some from the machine in the hall, and listened to my story with wide eyes while I smoked it. After a while, one of them looked at me closely and said, “You certainly are taking this well. You seem very calm.” I said, “I am calm. All this guy wanted was my stuff. I can always get more stuff. In fact, I’ll have better stuff next week!”
You see, several years before that, I was attacked at 3:00 A.M. in my bedroom. That guy wasn’t just after stuff. That was a different experience entirely. I actually was very lucky in that encounter because I was able to fight him off. But it made me really appreciate life and safety. I’ll fight to defend my life but I’m not willing to die for my stuff.
I think this is one of the benefits of having had some bad experiences in life: You develop perspective. When minor bad things happen, I can usually look back and say, “Oh, well, I’ve lived through worse.” It makes me good at recovery.
“All my experiences teach me positive lessons and help me grow.”
There are just some bad, evil sharks out there. Not too long ago, one of them called me. (Better a phone call than a man with a gun in your face, but still.)
He purported to be from my bank and said they had a special deal going for their preferred customers, of which I was one. They were offering a special low-interest rate credit card at 1.99%.
That certainly sounded good, so I said, sure, I’ll take it.
He said, “Great! I’ll just need to confirm some things for our records.” He read off my name and my address.
So far, so good.
Then he said, “Now I only need your Social Security number to complete the process” and waited for me to tell it to him.
The red warning light went off in my head at that point. I said, “If you’re from my bank, you already have my Social Security number.”
He blithely said, “Oh, they have that in another department. We don’t share that information between departments, so I’ll need you to give it to me.”
I said, “Oh, no you don’t! We’re done here!” and hung up.
You see, I had just read a notice from someone telling people about this same sort of scam, warning that they would sound so smooth and professional, and since they already had most of your information, people were believing them and giving them their Social Security number. At which point, steal your identity and rob you blind.
I called the fraud department of my bank and they confirmed the call I got was a phishing scam. Whew! I’m so glad I escaped!