Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Man in a Can

By Shoshanna Schmalz

There once was a man who grew up in a can. The can was secure and stable and provided protection of the unknown. As a child, he longed to be free and endlessly searched for a way out. He pushed on the walls in all directions and tested their strength, but to no avail. They were securely held together with generations of woven webs. He had searched for cracks in the walls or a secret door he could open, but he could not find any. He was routinely discouraged by the adults in the can, “Why would you want to go anywhere?” they asked him, “Everything that you need is right here in the can.” They distracted him with treats, shiny toys, and empty promises. He was told that there is no way out and that this is just how it is.  

So as he grew he filled his life with menial thoughts and tasks and filled his can to the brim with worthless treasures. He spent most of his time worshiping his treasures, counting them and shining them. He took pride in his junk as if he was worth that which he owned. He became so accustomed to the can that the inner calling to find a way out grew fainter and fainter and was almost forgotten.

Then one day, while walking by the mirror as he had done countless times before, he took a really close look. He noticed that the mirror was full of dust and smears that had gathered there over time. He started to clean the mirror and as he washed away the grime of years, it became an obsession. He cleaned and cleaned and scrubbed and scrubbed until it was crystal clear. Then he took a look into the mirror and for the first time he could really see himself. He noticed aspects that he had never seen before. As he looked closer, he noticed something sticking up from behind his shoulders. He had wings! Had they been there all along? How had he not noticed them before?

He spread his wings and flew. He flew right out of the can. As he soared higher and higher looking out over the glories of the world. He could see the can and all its contents far below him, small and cluttered and limiting. All the worthless treasures that he had gathered throughout his lifetime were meaningless in comparison to the freedom and wonders of the world.

All was clear and all was simple.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spotting an Online SCAM!

There are many ways innocent people are taken advantage of.  One of them is online financial scams.  If you are selling something on ebay, Amazon, Craigslist or any other website or you are hired online or otherwise as an independent contractor to perform a job BEWARE!  If the people send you more money than was agreed upon STOP, do not deposit the money, it is a SCAM.  The check will bounce!  They will pressure you to send a money gram for a portion of the check that they gave you to a 3rd party!  This is how they move money to people and it can't be traced back to them!  Many unsuspecting good Samaritans or naive people will fall prey to this trap and the check only bounces AFTER they already sent the money gram and they can be out thousands of dollars!!!

Sometimes the scammers will say that they are calling from the IRS, water or power company and scare you that you will go to jail or your utilities will be cut off if you do not pay immediately.  Do NOT be fooled.  Ask for a call back number to verify.  Make sure you have their mailing address and once you dig a little you will realize that they are trying to pull one over you!

TRUST your intuition!  If something doesn't feel right, doesn't make sense, is too good to be true, is fishy, suspicious or just bizarre, protect yourself and don't give your personal information such as account numbers, credit cards, etc.

Be careful and proceed with caution when dealing with online business transactions.   Don't be a victim of online fraud! Warn your family & friends so it doesn't happen to them either please repost!  Knowledge is power.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Don't wait til it's too late!

In the event that you do become a victim of fraudulent money transfers, notify your financial institution immediately so that you do not incur additional charges when the check bounces.  Notify the website where you found these people so they can be banned and file a report here  The police have no jurisdiction over cross country and international scams but make a report anyway!