Staying True in a Scam-Infested World

by Cathy Miller

in Miller Musings

bigstock-Scamp-Trap-9687797Have we always been so suspicious?

Or is that a by-product of a scam-infested world?

We become victims from being too trusting. And that is very sad.

We meet strangers with suspicion and judge those we do not know.

Staying true to an open mind is increasingly difficult.

This Pollyanna hates that.

Judge Not

One virtue I try to remain true to is keeping an open mind – to be judgment-free.

It is a daily struggle.

  • Instant messaging delivers instant judgment
  • Scanning stories skips facts
  • Being burned one too many times lingers

Then information emerges that embarrasses our rush to judgment. At least I hope it embarrasses.

If we greet the error of our ways with indifference, then we have truly lost.

Judgment With a Twist

I love this comment I received from reader, Roy Ackerman.

When I first wrote about this topic, Roy offered the following advice.

 Judge, but verify.

Roy’s point was that our judgment is intrinsic – a fight or flight reaction. His advice was taking that extra few minutes to verify.

Good advice in our snap-judgment world.

Verify Not Snap

The latest scandal du jour involves a player from my beloved Notre Dame football team.

You would think being such an ardent fan, I would avoid the snap of judgment. But, that was not the case. My first reaction was disappointment in the player, Manti Te’o.

If you do not know the story, the following is a brief recap.

  • Manti became the emotional leader of the football team
  • During the season, it was reported his beloved grandmother died
  • Six hours later, his girlfriend died of leukemia

We have since learned there was no girlfriend.

So, what are you thinking?

  • What a liar?
  • What a scam?

I admit, I thought the worst, too.

Then I began reading and listening to the stories.

Manti professes he was a victim of a scam.  His only interaction with the girlfriend was online or by phone. In his words, he “developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online.”

Allegedly, Manti was the victim of an elaborate hoax – one being labeled as Catfished.

Catfish is a documentary from two filmmakers who follow a colleague’s online relationship. The relationship turns out to be a hoax with a woman posing to be someone else with photos and background that were not hers.

Staying True

Who knows. As the story unfolds, my original disappointment may be verified.

Then again, the truth may be there was a cruel hoax, a scam.

My lesson learned is I still need to work on my open mind – judge, but verify.



BigStock Photo Credit



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wayman January 18, 2013 at 8:18 am

You know, Cathy, that ability to make snap judgments is among other things, a way to protect ourselves. So don’t judge yourself in a snap fashion either is my suggestion… as I tell you how to run your life!

Roy’s “judge but verify” makes sense, so does accepting we tend to make snap judgments and be willing, as I know you are, to get off them almost as quickly.

Your points are well taken… and we all make these mistakes… the trick is being willing to see them and let go.

Love you,


Cathy January 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

Thanks, Anne. I can always rely on you to put things in perspective. I don’t beat myself up about my missteps. I see them as a way to keep me humble. ;-)

And love you right back. Enjoy your weekend, Anne.


Lori January 24, 2013 at 6:04 am

I think we react so strongly to the example you gave (and other like it) because we don’t like feeling duped, nor do we like investing emotion and prayer time into a hoax. We think “How could I be so gullible?” but we can’t blame ourselves, so we search for a culprit.

I like that “Judge, but verify.” Great way to look at a lot of things these days. And it’s a reminder that we’re surrounded by human beings who deserve a second (and maybe a third) chance sometimes.


Cathy January 24, 2013 at 6:13 am

You’re right, Lori. It’s hard for us to trust so when we feel that trust has been broken, we go into defense mode and, as you said, search for a culprit.

And I love your point about deserving a second chance because we all err sooner or later. Thanks for your insight, Lori.


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