Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Facebook Problems 2 {Continued...}

Tim leads the Webelos in a Craftsman Badge pocket knife building project.
Yes, Amy, my new "friend" on Facebook asked for money!  Yes, Kristy, there were serious pulls at my heartstrings!
Rebecca, I concur with your wisdom about only accepting "friend" requests from someone you know. 
OK Simone, I'll get blogging and continue the saga...

As you know, I told my new "friend" that yes, she could ask me a question. Her reply:
well how are you doing my beloved one friend, i really feel so good reading from you Bridget, you so a great friend heaven sent. how is your true one husband God sent to you? send him regards and other family members.  here life is a bit on try, par now am not attending school because of some school dues. Please Bridget, here i come up by requesting you to find me someone with a helping heart to sponsor me in my education for my dreams to come true.. we are 3Children, staying with my mother, my daddy passed away some years back. we are 2girls and 1 brother, my sister is 14yrs and the my brother is 10yrs. 
i wish you the best and stay in touch. you always in my prayers. thanks for writing, _____

I wrote back, asking her to explain what exactly she was requesting (in a sponsor) and if her school had a sponsorship program.  I also asked for a few more details. She replied:
Bridget hi, how are you doing and how is life taking you over there, how is everyone, how is your heaven sent husband? you all in my prayers.

am so happy reading from you, and really thank so much for your heart of help to consider out my request of getting a sponsor, here life is just on try, as you know am missing school a lot... but everyone home is fine, at school they don't have that program of sponsorship, i think it would be better for me to have a private wth a heart of help to pay my school fees up to university to complete my studies, my Job in mind is becoming an accountant or studying law, this is my final class to university but then right now am missing school yet we have to sit for the National examination, i would like to register but registration fees my mother can't really afford it, thats why my friend Bridget please help me out with this so that at least i sit for this final year of high school.
with fees par term we pay 181,500/= Ugandan shs, with Registration fee for the National examination is 15,000/= Ugandan shs we pay it once for only National examination.
thanks so much for my dearest friend Bridget may God still keep you with that great heart of help. yours always in my prayers
I used an online conversion program to determine how much money was being requested in US dollars, and the total was around $200.  I showed Tim the series of messages and his scam radar went off immediately.  This is where the beauty of marriage becomes so evident:  While I was emotionally moved by this person's cry for help (as a mother would be), he was moved into protector mode (as a father should be).  Tim put it straight:  We would absolutely not be sending money to a stranger, even if she was my "friend" on Facebook.

Tim's decision made perfect sense. So I sent her this message:

We are not going to be able to send you the money, but we will pray for you and hope that you can find a sponsor for your education.  I do hope you will still want to be friends, even if we cannot pay for your school and examination fees. I know this will be disappointing news, but I want to be very honest with you and not give you the wrong idea. With friends, it is always better to be completely honest, even if it's hard news.

I did keep her in prayer, and her reply caught me off guard:
thank you for refusing to find me a sponsor to my education.   bye

I guess I should have simply let the whole thing go.  But somehow this strange Facebook situation (and the thought of a desperate child in Africa) kept nagging at my conscience...


Ryan O'Donnell said...

You did the right thing. I think you can rest assured that these messages did not come from a starving student, but probably a full-time scam artist. If it continues to nag at your conscience, maybe an equivalent donation to a reputable charity could help? I know a few people who have worked in schools in Africa - I could ask them for recommendations if you want.

Amy said...

Dear sweet Bridget,
I first encountered these professional scammers while trying to rent a house here in Milwaukee. The house was beautiful everything you could want and you ask very kindly about renting the home and you are sent a message about how they are missionaries in Africa, Kenya and a few other places the story is always the same” we had to take this opportunity to be missionaries and we need a good tenant such as yourself to take care of our lovely home if you send the deposit we will send you the key”..
I have some kind of built in scam alert as well (I wonder where that came from) and knew it was just that a scam and sure enough it has been in the local news and I have seen special reports regarding this issue. There are internet cafes all over the world and these individuals “go to work” every day working and managing different scam to separate you (us) from our money. I am sorry that you experienced that... I am glad that Tim knew not to let this person (from the reports probably a man) take advantage of you... I love you tons.

Buhler family said...

It's hard to face things like this when you believe in the goodness of people and have a heart to serve and help those in need. Unfortunately, some people do take advantange of these amazing qualities to feed their selfish schemes. Thanks for sharing this stuggle. I might be one of the few people left on earth without a facebook acct, but I think I'll keep declining all of those invites.

rmbrulotte said...

You have an innocent, giving, heart of gold. It is so disheartening to hear that people want to take advantage of you. Good job in figuring out the scam.