As part of developing first equanimity towards others then compassion we can develop the view that others are as important or more important than our self. These are wonderful views to develop towards others, to cut down the barriers and distinctions that we make between self and others. We can develop these through the practices like equalising and exchanging self with others.
Unfortunately, the actions of others can be driven by the ignorance of self-grasping, the self-centred view of self-cherishing, compelled by past negative karma and mental delusions like attachment and greed, and theft. For our own self-protection we should apply common sense to interactions with others, even while we practice equalising and exchanging self with others.
A close friend was caught in an Internet scam. A confidence trickster slowly worked on their target over months through direct messages, emails, and phone calls over months to develop trust with our close friend. The result was our friend’s loss of a significant amount of money. Such scams are easy for somebody to perform anonymously over the Internet and difficult to resolve because the scam artist might be in a different part of the world.
We often think of educating the young people in our lives to be wary of strangers online. But it is important to also educate the older people in your life. They should be on the lookout for scams that are more sophistication than the classic “Nigerian prince” scam. The scam could be targeted where the scam artist knows detailed information about the person being targeted using online sources like the voter register, using social media to gather details of their friends and family, or even financial transactions from data breaches at big companies.
This healthy distrust of strangers on the Internet is unfortunately a necessary protection for ourselves in our day-to-day interactions with others.
We would like to warmly encourage our readers to educate both the younger people to be wary of strangers online and educate the older people in our lives about Internet scams. This is great resource to start your conversations:
Let’s be careful out there, @happyops