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Deceived and Scammed…

This week, two friends of ours were the victims of elaborate scams that have resulted in significant loss. In one case, a false identity was created that resulted in the loss of more than $14000 and the other case, that I heard about yesterday, resulted in a scam of more than $40,000. And in a later development today, the scammers have tried to get the rest of the funds from her savings account – thankfully, the bank locked down her account and blocked the unauthorized transfer of fund. Sadly, these aren’t the first or only scams that I have heard about.

Several years ago, someone stole Janet’s social security number and created an account with a streaming service that resulted in us having to resolve a case of identity theft. Not only was Experian identity protection involved, but many of the national agencies, such as FBI, the Social Security Administration and fraud protection agencies were also at our disposal to fight this gross injustice. If it hadn’t been for our relationship with Experian, things could have been much worse.

Then, recently, AT&T went through a hacking event that resulted in millions of social security numbers being compromised. Of course, we were notified that we had an intruder risk. In fact, AT&T just sent us an invitation to become clients of Experian, at their expense, with reimbursement up to $1,000,000 for losses we sustain due to identity theft. Thankfully, that won’t be necessary as we already have this protection in place.

Speaking of AT&T, another friend of ours had her account compromised and lost about $6000 to people who impersonated her and ordered a number of phones on her account. She was able to have the phones disabled and be of no used to the perpetrators, but the damage had been done and she was on the hook for cost of the phones.

These scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated. While many of us say that this will never happen to us, the truth of the matter is that these schemes are becoming so sophisticated that anybody can fall prey to these professionals keep coming up with more elaborate schemes to line their pockets.

Not only do most of us refuse to believe that this could happen to us, but if and when it does, we feel embarrassed. In fact, that is the biggest thing that I deal with when trying to counsel those who have been taken advantage of. The truth of the matter is that this injustice can happen to any of us. This is the same way that Satan works his evil.

Yes, many of us are believers, and that should make us immune from the advances of Satan. But the problem is that Satan doesn’t give up. He is always after us, trying to take advantage of us, not unlike the scammers who are constantly trying to destroy us one way or another.

Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior is, hopefully, the beginning of a lifelong relationship that will ultimately extend throughout eternity. And it is the goal of every believer to become more like Jesus as they progress into a deeper relationship with Him. But we must always be on our guard and keep focused on Jesus. Even the apostles, who were devoted to Jesus and with Him every waking moment were attacked by Satan. Matthew even tells us the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:23, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

One of the issues with Satan is that he is deceptive and usually there is an element of truth in the things that he tries to get us to believe. Just like the scammers. There is enough truth to lead us down a false path that leads to greater deceptions.

One of the most famous examples of this is when Satan “recites” the 91st Psalm to Jesus, during the time in the wilderness, leaving out one of the important lines. The original from the Old Testament gives us the intention of God when it states, in Psalm 91:11-12, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

However, in Matthew 4:6, Satan skips a line when he says to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’”

Did you catch what Satan left out? The line that says that God’s angels will “guard you in all your ways…” Now this may seem like a little thing, but it’s not. Guarding us is one of the ministries of angels just as their command to escort believers to heaven…

My encouragement this evening is that it is important that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus – every hour, every day. My prayer is that we will always be watchful for the deceptions of Satan and that by being fully dedicated to God, we will be less likely to allow Satan and sin into our lives. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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