Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Dumb Do You Think I Am?

Last night a guy came to my door at supper time, just as it was getting dark. He said he was finishing up a job in my neighborhood and... That's where I rolled my eyes and shut the door. One of the oldest scams in the book is a guy saying he has materials left over from another job so he can give you a great deal if you want the same work done on your home. You pay him half up front and he never returns. Or he's just looking for a peek inside your house so he knows if it's worth coming back to break in.

If you insist on trying to scam or rob me, give me a good original plot line.

Our neighborhood's had a rash of these shady visitors lately. Hey, times are hard and a person has to make a buck. Why not turn to crime when people seem to be getting more gullible everyday?

I get email constantly from folks who write fiction just like me. They simply don't come out and admit it. Today a guy said he was writing from a bank in the United Kingdom, telling a long (and I mean LONG) involved tale about me being heir to 8,375,000 pounds. Yesterday, a nice terse note from a different sender said I'd inherited a mere 5 million pounds. That was the poor side of my family, no doubt.

Does anyone actually BELIEVE these emails and answer them?

Apparently lots of spam emails are believed, because friends of mine have forwarded me all kinds of Internet threats, "true stories" of "real people," and political "facts" meant to push all my emotional buttons. Most I've already seen and I can reply, saying "This isn't true" -- stopping myself short of saying, "You of all people ought to have seen through that." Even when I haven't seen the story before, usually one quick search on tells me I've once again been hit with, to put it politely, an urban legend.

One email last week even had a P.S. at the bottom saying the original sender had checked it out on Snopes and the story was absolutely true. I clicked on his Snopes link, which took me to the Snopes search summary page. The summary did indeed begin "...this is true." It was a quote from the email being send out as spam, nothing else. If you clicked on the summary, it took you to the real Snopes page, which told you the story was a mixture of true and false information. The main statements and conclusions were false.

On Facebook the other day, the page for my town's chamber of commerce posted a warning that cell phones number would be handed over to telemarketers within days. That false rumor's been going around the Internet since 2004, yet here it was, coming from a source most people would consider reliable.

Between that and all the political lies and distortions (from both parties) being flung around, not only on ads but on network news and even PBS, I've decided that truth is pretty much obsolete, if it was ever popular at all. So I think I'll start listing my novels as non-fiction. Like Dan Brown, I'll start each with the word FACT, then say something that isn't true. Yeah, that'll grab 'em.

I'm not making this up.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Those emails drive me crazy! I got one in response to an ad I'd posted trying to sell a sofa. If only I would let his driver pick it up the next day he'd send me double the money I asked the form of a money order. One he was suurrree I'd have no trouble cashing. Oh, he has to send a driver because he lives in India. He's having the sofa shipped to him. Sure he was!


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