Friday, 10 January 2014

Poison - on the internet

I am one of those who believes that the internet has a greater good value than bad.

Possibly a strange comment to make when one observes the tidal wave (not tsunami) of filth and depravity that is spawned by the world wide web.

But the internet has given me (at least) contact with a parish that has no boundaries, that contains people who hold the same views as myself, and those people have opened up to me the hospitality that was once shown by Our Lord to sinners.

Forgiveness, love, compassion and companionship.

Pretty good, really.

But, yesterday, I received a series of messages from a priest whom I believed was a Facebook friend.

Alas, it was a scam.

The "priest" claimed he was on a special retreat in Canada. OK, that's believable.

But, in the course of many conversations he revealed that it was ultra cold in Canada with temperatures minus 5 degrees.

A small warning bell began to ring. I have never been to Canada but, I think that - 5 degrees is probably a tad on the warm side for January.

To cut a long story short he asked for money to aid an adopted Ugandan boy who was undergoing kidney surgery.

Bingo! The penny dropped.....but not completely.

This priest, I should add, is a well known and much loved traditional 'other Christ'.

I was almost sucked into the scam. I phoned him up at his UK base......and, heavens to Betsy, I spoke to him who was, supposedly, on retreat at a Canadian monastery.

End of story.

The priest has asked that I publicise this as much as possible.

He also asked me to 'put the fear of God' into the fraud by letting him know that Interpol was on the case.

I was pleased to do this but not before I had dangled a possible contribution of £5000 before his eyes.

That prospect excited him greatly.....and then I gave him the bad news!


  1. A salutory warning. Thank you.

  2. There's a lot of it about Richard. We were almost taken in by an email from a priest friend this morning, asking us whether or not we could do him a favour. When we responded to ask what the favour was, the reply was that he was in the Ukraine, had been stranded and needed money.

    It turns out his email had been hacked, but it looked really official with his name, diocesan title and prayer at the end.

    There seems to be a lot of poison about on the internet generally at the moment. St Michael defend us in battle.

    1. Indeed, Caroline, you've had more than your fair share. But, we all instinctively reach for our wallets when a priests asks for help. That's what makes these scams so devilishly clever.

  3. I dont want to minimise the warning ,but at least it's only money, among adults - my institutional information is that , natch, whoda thought it, 99% of internet crimes, particularly identity theft , are either for money or sex, but the details of the identity thefts of friends of particularly teen girls are absolutely horrific and utterly evil.
    NOBODY underage should ever be anywhere on the net except at a computer in the living room , modern mobiles are a real problem.
    Counting your spoons, which they're still yours and no reason to give them to deceiving rogues, comes second to locking up your daughters, cause it's a good deal worse then the military in town .Fr Z has a preinternet prayer, St Michael archangel is pretty tough, and I think Guardian Angels mostly act without being asked, but I think they appreciate being asked with it.