I have been a victim of a fraud. Twice. But instead of complaining about the inability of the UK police to take any form of action or discussing my disability to make informed decisions, I would like to share with you the valuable lesson I learnt from losing about £500.
I used to be quite keen on selling online. Before my current obsession with charity shops, I would put up online of my clothing, electronics etc. and also purchase some. I never had a bad experience on either side of the chain, mind you though, this was back in the Czech Republic. I recently discovered that one can also shop via Facebook (Marketplace) and so when I was looking for a new phone, I went there. 72hours and £280 later, I swore to never do it again! After multiple reports of the user’s profile and desperate searching on the Facebook community (as their customer service contact details are to be found nowhere), the account was deleted and all the communication disappeared. Hence, less evidence for the police which, although aiming ‘to get back to me within 28 days’, never contacted me.
The second time, I was selling an item and spotted the fraud from the very beginning. Thanks to the people I surround myself with, however, I trusted the offender and let him talk me into sending the item (though I did consider putting a stone in the envelope instead!). Needless to say, I never saw the money, nor the camera, nor the lawsuit. I called 101, reported to Action Fraud, informed the Royal Mail, I forwarded all the communication to eBay and Paypal and… drumroll… never heard back from any of them. Oh well (though I used slightly more explicit words to express myself back then)!
We rely on stuff to define who we are. We use physical items to establish a status. Why is that?
But what I learnt from the two gentlemen (maybe) called Calib Adams (Welwyn Garden City) and Anthony Bobby Williams (Dublin, firstname.lastname@example.org) is not only to be cautious when making any online transactions but also how much we rely on stuff which we allow to define who we are. We use physical items to establish a status. Why is that?
Following my ongoing unease (and repeated phone calls to the police, Royal Mail and Action Fraud), I settled on the best thing being to ditch the negative emotions connected to my thoughts and simply move on. Being £500 shorter made me also think about what could I buy for this money. It would pay for a tattoo, a phone, a holiday, a medical treatment for my pet etc. But it would never buy me the things that bring a smile to my face almost every day, such as love, friendship and understanding.
I try to see fraud as an act of kindness. It took me some time to realise that I don’t need that money and maybe it will make somebody else’s day better. Of course, I would love to punch these offenders in their face, have them arrested and sent to prison to learn their lesson, but somehow I got the feeling that it ain’t happen. And so, instead of focusing on them, I put myself into the spotlight.
After two days of balling my eyes out, I finally felt it. I was lighter, brighter and cleaner on every level.
After (and in between) being furious, I cried. And I cried so much that I didn’t even know whether it because of the money, my reaction or something else. My friend told me that tears are a good thing and after two days of balling my eyes out, I finally felt it. I was lighter, brighter and cleaner on every level. What more, the newly found perspective helped me detach from other thoughts that had been holding me down. However, this mindful shift would not have happened without my regular yoga practice and a wonderful teacher Nadia who taught me how to stay grounded and to let go. Sigh.
At the end of the week, I met up with a friend. For the first time in ages, I experienced something incredible - I could NOT stop laughing. My stomach was aching, my throat was tight, my voice ringing, and I finally experienced an honest, wholehearted laugh. Since then, I have been laughing on multiple occasions, from a conversation with a friend to watching my dog rolling around. It feels is great!
Although the pain from losing half of my month’s salary still perseveres, it was the punch I needed to realise that you should never allow money to make you. Instead, the human connections you establish with your friends, your community and, most importantly, with yourself is what defines your real value.