MIKE DAVIES: Trust is becoming more and more difficult

Columnist laments societal loss of trust due to seeming increase in people who prey on unwariness

It seems like every day – it’s not, but it feels like it – there’s another “Such and such an organization is warning the public about another email scam …” announcement in the media.

I’m torn on this.

In some ways, I feel like most of them are fairly obvious, and people should just kind of know by now that these things aren’t real.

It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who willingly sends money over the internet on the promise of more money being sent the opposite direction once they do. After all, “you don’t get something for nothing” is a cliché for a reason.

I sometimes think that if people are gullible enough to fall victim to these things, after all the press surrounding their frequency, so be it.

At the same time, though, I do lament that we live in a world where good folks, raised to trust and be trusted, treat people how they wish to be treated and assume the best in people until proven otherwise, now have to be skeptical about every communication they receive from people purporting to be official and important societal organizations.

Like the recent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announcement that people are receiving text messages asking them to “Click here” to receive their tax return by e-Transfer.

This is a sketchy one in a few ways.

First, it’s tax time, and many people will have recently filed their taxes and be awaiting their return, so the message is timely, and plays on people’s expectations. Most of the time these scams pop up, they aren’t exactly so bang on in terms of offering things people are actually waiting to hear about (remember the Nigerian Prince or the European lottery win?).

Second, it seems like every time we turn around, the CRA has some new technology or “efficiency” they’re implementing, and many may just think, “Hey, they’re making this even easier! About time!” and click the link.

The other scam people are talking about these days is the supposed email from Canada Post telling people a delivery was attempted to be made at their home, and that they need to click on the link to find out where and when to pick up their parcel.

Like the “CRA scam,” this one is easy to fall for.

Because we hear about Canada Post falling apart, making cuts, changing delivery modes, etc., it would be very easy for people to think such a scenario is another “efficiency” implementation, I suppose. Guess they can’t even be bothered to write out the little delivery notice things anymore.”

And let’s face it, many of us are pretty accustomed to being disappointed with Canada Post’s performance, so an email like this is not exactly a shock. Even if you were home all day and would have heard the door, many of us would just assume, “So, I guess they aren’t even trying anymore.”

Anyway, as I said, it disappoints me that we have become a society that can’t trust.

We now have to assume the worst, it seems, when we open up our inbox and see who’s been leaving us messages. We need to be on our toes at all times, and that doesn’t make for a healthy population. I’d like it if we could all be friends and look after each other, rather than always being skeptical of others. After all, friendship is based on trust.

So what’s your big plan then, Davies? How do we change this wary attitude when there are people who are clearly intent on taking advantage of those who are not?

Alas, I do not know the answer.

I know we have to report these things when we see them and inform those around us in whatever ways we have available (social media is great to get the word out quickly).

Maybe we just need to be extra vigilant as a society for a while, mistrust everything until those who would prey on trust go away because it’s not worth their time.

I’m worried, though, that if we do that, it might change us permanently and we won’t be able to go back.

Like I said, I’m torn. What do you think?

mdavies@goldsteamgazette.com

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