Just the other day I learned a great lesson and saw the hand of God working in a unique and merciful way. Let me tell you about it. My son and I were driving to Mt. Holly for a day of skiing and a local pastor friend of mine came up on the Gmail instant messaging on my smart phone. We exchanged pleasantries and then he told me he was vacationing in London and had the unfortunate event of being robbed. He described in detail the event and we went back and forth in discussion. He said that they took all his cash and he was in need of $400. He is a fellow pastor and I know him well enough to trust him. He asked if I would Western Union the cash to help him out of a bind and promised to repay when he and his wife were stateside again. I made a phone call and asked someone at church to help this fellow pastor out. The staff person began working on setting up a Western Union account and getting the help to this pastor he needed. I let my friend know we were working on it and making it happen. While the staff member was working on the computer our Internet connection went down and all the work was lost. My friend was asking me what was taking so long and I explained we were working on it. After the Internet came back up the staff member went back to work and then sent me all the data so I could relay it to my friend on the Gmail instant messaging feature.
The Gmail instant messaging was going in and out so we were having trouble communicating. The necessary data to make a Western Union cash pickup was not getting through so I decided to send it to both of the email addresses I have for my friend.
To be frank I was trying to ski and my fingers were freezing every time I had to chat with him on my blackberry. Don’t misunderstand I wanted to help my buddy out in London but I also had already paid for my ski ticket and was ready to enjoy the snow and the skiing.
My friend got the email I sent on his smart phone and realized that someone was fraudulently using his Gmail account and we were about to get ripped off. He immediately called the church and told the staff to stop the transaction; it was all a fraud. He was not in London; he was in Virginia driving back from Christmas vacation. My staff called Western Union to stop the transaction and we were able to do so.
Now is where I get to tell you about the sovereign mercy of God. If the Internet had not went down the first time during the initial setting up of the account it is doubtful we would not have been able to realize we were being scammed and stop the transaction.
And if I had not sent the email out to get back to skiing my friend might not have called the church and we would not have caught the scam soon enough. Isn’t God good!
And I certainly learned an awesome lesson! Yes, I know you are saying I can’t believe you fell for that. But I must tell you; it never crossed my mind even for a moment that the person I was chatting with wasn’t my friend. The idea that someone could hack into his Gmail account and begin instant messaging was beyond my comprehension. Yes, I know that email accounts get compromised, but that’s for famous people like Sarah Palin. Until this event it just never crossed my mind that the average guys email account could be hacked into and data compromised. I have changed the complexity of my password and do not have it written down anywhere.
I know after reading this that you, like me, will verify and verify if anyone ever comes up on email or chat asking for anything. And I again am so thankful for God’s mercy in this situation.