Friday, March 6, 2015


This article was inspired by a single sentence buried in a recent editorial published in that other local newspaper. The article was spot-on concerning the lack of honesty from our elected leaders and the news media one sentence from that editorial has been a burr under my saddle ever since I read it: “Businessmen are generally taught in the finest business schools that honesty is a weakness.” Really? Granted, the brunt of my classes were taken at a private Methodist college where such teachings would go against official doctrine so maybe I was sheltered, but I doubt it.

As any businessperson would attest, we are offered a daily chance to scam or otherwise be dishonest. I could sell a client a used hard drive and pass it off as new. I could underreport my meager earnings to the tax man. I could get into the big bucks by developing some scam software. Or, hey, here’s a good one: I could convince you all that I’m building Disneyland in your back yard! There are so many other chances to cheat my fellow man and increase my wealth but I do not. Why? Well, evidently because I didn’t attend one of the “finest business schools” that turn me into a cheat and liar.

If I’m completely honest with myself (which is VERY hard to do) I admit to a bit of envy for the scam artists I often write about in this column. I was in awe of the skills of the “IRS agent” who tried to scam me a few weeks ago. The fellow from Nigeria that will soon mail me a $5,000 check is making a killing from less skeptical people. The companies that sell “registry optimizers” and sham antivirus programs are living the good life while I toil to make an honest living.

Other than calling out that editor for making a foolish statement, I think what I’m trying to say is this: You folks who fall for scams and install all that junk software or otherwise fall for scams need to understand that dishonest people are everywhere and they are after you. When an online ad says you can speed your computer up or fix “registry” or “driver” problems, don’t believe it. When the IRS or the utility company calls the threaten you, hang up on them. You darn sure shouldn’t hand over your credit card to anyone who asks for it.

You’re wrong, Mr. Editor of that other newspaper; scammers take the same easy route that Pat Robertson and some theme park developers take: They prey on your greed and fear. They promise you the world in exchange for a little bit your soul. That’s not taught in business school. That’s something they learn on their own.

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