You Are Calling About What?
Have you received the call yet–the one about your social security number being suspended?
As I was in the hospice office last week working, my cell phone indicated that I had an incoming call. Like most of you, I get my fair share of phony solicitation calls of various sorts—one of which has to do with my vehicle’s extended warranty–, so I often ignore telephone numbers that I do not recognize. But this one displayed a call from our local area code and the prefix was one that is used by people I know. Maybe a bit against my better judgment I took the call and heard the recorded voice of a male who seriously presented his reason for calling; he stated that my social security number had been used fraudulently in Texas and if I did not respond to the call I would be taken to court for a serious offense. I was then invited to press 1 for further instructions.
There were too many obvious red flags in the call and I didn’t take the bait. I simply hung up.
The reason for the call was not for the purpose of helping me out of a problem, but it was about inflicting fear on me in the hopes of deceiving and then stealing from me. It was a cowardly trick that could easily catch the unsuspecting off their guard and ensnare them in an ugly trap. If such deceivers and thieves would apply themselves as much to an honest job as they do to working at scheming up ways to deceive and steal from the innocent and unsuspecting, our world would be a much better place. Proverbs 11:18 sums it up well: “The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (New International Version).
Several years ago while we were out of town visiting family, Gale and I stayed at a motel that we had used before with acceptable results. On this particular occasion I received a telephone call from the attendant on duty. It had been a long day of traveling and I was ready to turn in for the night. After answering the call, the voice on the other end told me that she needed my credit card number to complete my account. I had to make a split second decision, so I told her I would just bring the card down to her but she said that was unnecessary and I could just give it to her over the phone. In my fuzzy headedness and laziness I gave her the information. As soon as I hung up the phone I started to beat myself up mentally for surrendering my information when I was unsure if the person was who she claimed to be. It was a wakeup call for me to be more cautious in such matters.
Those deceptive tricks that are launched at us by sly criminals to try to steal our material belongings should serve to remind us that there is an even greater effort to deceive and steal from us spiritually. Scripture gives us multiple warnings about spiritual deceptions and reminds us that we must keep up our spiritual guards so that we are not taken by the trickery of the devil. We are instructed in Ephesians 6 to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (verse 11). The chapter gives us a description of what that protective spiritual battle gear is made up of (verses 13-17), but like protective gear provided for soldiers on the battlefield, it will only be effective and helpful if it is used.
It is sad for one human being to stoop so low as to try to deceive another for the purpose of personal gain—especially upon the elderly and vulnerable. It is a good reminder to remain vigilant to avoid falling prey to such attempts. And of even greater importance, we must always stay alert to the deceptions of Satan who uses endless means to try to rob us spiritually.