My cell phone rang a week ago as I walked to the church. Although I didn’t recognize the number, I answered. It was a recording from the Basel Police Department saying there had been suspicious activity connected with my Swiss Identity card. We recently moved apartments and I had been showing my card to different authorities, so my first assumption was that it was related to our move.
The recording continued. The voice said that a warrant had been issued for my arrest due to this activity. Then I was instructed to press 1 in order to speak with a police officer immediately or I would be arrested today. I hung up.
It took me a few seconds to realize this was the beginning of a scam. For one thing, the call was in English. The police department would be using German. Second, I’ve lived in Switzerland long enough to know this isn’t how the police operate. I’m more likely to get a fine in the mail than be arrested for some infraction over my ID card.
The call made me angry because I knew these operators would eventually snag someone and demand money from them before the victim discovered it was all a fraud. This is what they call an ‘Imposter Scam’ and versions of this are now among the most popular fraudulent actions. Estimates vary but between 8.8 and 29 billion dollars were lost to these cons last year in the United States. No one really knows how to calculate the worldwide loss. The most frustrating thing about it all is how difficult it is to do anything about it. Authorities can’t seem to shut this stuff down.
There are a lot of unjust things in our world. Many of them are far worse than a phone scam. At times, we can despair about the state of our world, the way people behave and whether anyone can help. God’s word assures us that there is justice, and we can expect a proper accounting of these things. Meanwhile, we are to live by honest and righteous standards and not give in to the corruption around us.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9)
There are some issues that will not be rectified in this lifetime. In the end, God’s justice will prevail. We must let him take care of that.