I Was Almost Defrauded $3000…and it’s the Best Thing That Happened to Me

I was almost defrauded out of $3000.
ALMOST.
That’s an essential part of the story so that you know, first of all, all is okay. The next, and probably the most important part, is that there are some really really great people out there. What happened to me two days ago PROVES to me that there is more good than bad around us.

A couple of days ago, an email came through my work address seemingly from my boss (spoiler: it wasn’t). The email asked for my urgent help since she was in a conference. I responded…of course!

She asked for my cel number. (Weird, I thought. She has it already. But oh well. Maybe she’s on a different phone.) And I give it.

The text came through immediately. She needed a bunch of gift cards in the next 30 minutes and could I go get them. Since I’m new at my job and eager to please, I hastily said YES and jumped up from my desk, whisking off to purchase the much needed cards.

In my mind, I’m planning my route and decided to go to Save-On Foods (a grocery store on the way to my boss’s office). On the way to the store, I listen to a podcast which happens to be about slowing down and paying attention in your life. (Ya. We need to do that more, I think to myself.)
I proceed to the store with haste.

Once I’m at the store, I briskly walk to the gift cards. As I start counting out the cards, THAT’s when it hits me that this is gonna be three grand! Yikes! I better warn my husband – right after I texted my “boss” confirming that I was going to be reimbursed the same day.

There’s not enough cards here. So I ask a clerk if they have more somewhere. She immediately asked if this was a fraudulant purchase. WHAT?! No, I say.
She says: well an elderly lady was defrauded last week.
I respond: oh well. THIS is for work. (In other words, I’m way too smart to be taken in by fraud.)

I take the cards to the customer service counter and the cashier says: arrrre youuuuuuu suuuuuuuure? This seems like fraud. We see it all the time.
And I say: Well it isn’t; it’s for my work. (Boy these people are freaking out, I think. My boss and I are going to have a laugh about this later.)
I laid my card on the counter to pay.

Then the manager comes over.
He says: Um. Are you sure this is legit?
I say: Look. This is for my work. (I’m feeling impatient now.)
And he says: did you actually talk to your boss?
And I say: Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So, I phone my boss (just to prove them wrong) and when she answers, her voice is all casual and I think…fuck.
Hey, I say: did you send me to get gift cards?
She responds: ummm no.
And the house of mirrors came crashing around me and the truth was standing there in a sleazy dress. I. Could. Not. Believe. IT!!!!!

I thanked the store people profusely and all but ran to my car feeling like a complete idiot. I felt like I could throw up and the self abuse came crashing in:
How could I have been so stupid? What if I had gone through with it? OMG. What will my husband say? The store people must think I’m a moron. My boss will regret hiring such an idiot. And on. And on.
And on. I wanted to run away and hide and never come out.

I drove home and called a friend who, thankfully, pulled me back from the metaphorical cliff of self-condemnation.
And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Fast forward to today…I attend Tom Compton’s weekly group inquiry/meditation. He guided us through exploring the belief “This is serious.”

For those who don’t know, Tom faciliates a process called The Work of Byron Katie which is a method where we question stressful thoughts using four simple questions:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?

So, naturally, when it comes to being NEARLY defrauded out of $3000, that’s pretty serious, right?
I thought so, too.

What I learned is that it definitely sucks. It was even kind of scary. However, with the belief of “this is serious” on top of it, I also felt really shitty about myself. I’m hearing in my childhood memory one of my parents (or some other adult figure) say: what were you thinking Debbie?! This is serious. SMARTEN UP!

With the belief “this is serious”, I’ve got to be on alert. I have to warn everyone. I’ve even got to feel a little ashamed. I tell the story to others in a really serious tone of voice. I feel traumatized even.

Wow, heh?

Without the belief? I feel so much lighter. I feel relief. I have room to really feel grateful for all the people looking out for me. The podcast I was listening to, the grocery store employees, my friend…and my boss. Who was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sweet, by the way. So many things and people to be grateful for. I now know what to look for in fraudulant emails and it didn’t cost me a dime. I’ve learned to slow down and, maybe, even listen to myself. If I can, that is.

During the Tom class, I texted the fraudster (yes, I still have their number). I told the person that I was originally really angry and humilated but now feel grateful for the experience.
They responded: lol Be happy.
I replied: You too. (After I first said to myself, WTF! This was serious!)

Tom played this song for us at the end of our session. It’s a great reminder!

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