Until very recently, society assumed it has enough intellect, safe guards, and street smarts to avoid the big con. Sadly, events continue to unfold that reveal a very different story. No matter how one defines big, the financial giants were conned. $50 Billion is a lot of money, in any economy! Victims come from every part of society, from big natures and small. Several victims have seen their lives destroyed. However prepared we thought we were, it seems that we were not.
I wish we had a defense that would always protect us from this type of act. Across history, bad people have been able to convince those that were considered wise. Saul and Barnabas “traveled the length of the island, and at Paphos came upon a Jewish wizard who had worked himself into the confidence of the governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man not easily taken in by charlatans. The wizard's name was Bar-Jesus. He was as crooked as a corkscrew.” (Acts 13.6, 7) Sergius was deceived. Others followed his lead. Bar-Jesus’ influence defied its foundation.
We may not be able to prevent Evil’s action, however there are things we can do to protect ourselves. We can trust but verify. With time, there is never a need to take another’s word without verifying the underlying promises. The process of verification builds confidence and truth filled relationship.
We can control our greed. When there is a promise greater than anyone else, caution should be taken. Greed is a very dangerous emotion that often clouds judgment.
We can seek the wisdom of our communities. If someone we trust has concerns, we would do well to listen. The wisdom found in a community often exceeds that of an individual. It is a balancing act that is often difficult, however ignoring the wisdom of others comes with great risk.
The fact that we live in a world with others that are intent on conning us should not come as a surprise. Evil abounds, even in great communities. There are defenses, tried and true, available to you and I.