Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

You’ve just won… January 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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“CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’VE BEEN SELECTED to receive a free cruise to the Bahamas!”

Not the Bahamas, but a beach none-the-less. Minnesota Prairie Roots edited file photo.

Not the Bahamas, but a beach none-the-less. Minnesota Prairie Roots edited file photo.

For a minute, I want to believe it, that I’ve won a trip that will take me far from the bitter cold and snow of Minnesota to the sunshine and warmth of the Bahamas. Not that I would go anyway, given my issues with flying.

But still, who doesn’t like to win something? My husband actually won a trip to the Bahamas in 2003. A legitimate trip from a local radio station.

This most recent phone call, though, alerting me to the free cruise, raised an immediate red flag. For one, an automated voice would not relay such good news. Secondly, I did not register nor qualify for a cruise give-away.

So I hung up.

But would everyone?

I think not.

You’ve all gotten those calls, I’m sure, scaring you in to thinking you need a product or warning you about something related to your credit card. Or what about those high pressure telemarketers tugging at your compassionate side, asking you to donate to some worthy cause?

I hang up.

But would everyone?

I think not.

In this crazy mixed up world, it is sometimes difficult to separate truth from untruth, honesty from dishonesty, fact from fiction.

I want to see the best in everyone, I truly do. I want to believe that the person on the other end of the line really is asking me to donate to an authentic charity. Common sense tells me otherwise, that I am likely to be taken by a scam if I get sucked in.

I want to believe that all of the comments to this blog are simply readers who wish to share their thoughts. My spam filter, with 200,460 blocked comments, tells me otherwise.

Then there are the convincing emails, which appear from legitimate sources, but aren’t. It’s tempting to click on the link, but I don’t.

To filter through all of this, I trust my gut, my intuition that something is not quite right. When red flags pop up, I see them.

That line from Alice in Wonderland comes to mind: Welcome to Wonderland, where everything is not as it seems.

So…if you get a call about a free cruise to the Bahamas, be forewarned…

DEAR READERS, have you ever believed something to be legitimate/true and it turns out it wasn’t? What warning signs alert you that something isn’t quite right?

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling