Australians are swindled out of at least $50 million a year by local and international telephone scammers linked to organised crime, according to a recent article on News.com.au.
These sliver-tongued cold callers, often supported by slick websites, promise high returns for an average investment of $20,000 to $30,000.
Surprisingly, their main targets are computer-literate men in their 50s and 60s, who consider themselves financially savvy.
These crooked businesses change like chameleons, are extremely difficult to pin down and expensive to prosecute, and the best advice the police can give is "just hang up".
So why don't we?
Well, isn't it true that when asked how much is "enough" most people would answer "just a little bit more"? We are discontent with what we have.
This discontent feeds into the hands of advertisers and marketers on a daily basis, and explains why unlikely returns in an "exclusive" scheme that pays out quickly seem so appealling.
Fear and greed are not modern afflictions.
The Bible, might be speaking directly to a 21st-century audience with this warning: "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Jesus addressed both our greed and our fear in His Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus warned His disciples, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions" (Luke 12:15). And He told the parable of the rich man who stored up his goods in more and larger barns, but whose life was taken from him in an instant and his goods went to another.
Jesus said not to worry about not having enough but to trust in God's provision for His children.
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (see Matthew 6:25-34).
The bottom line? "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'." (Hebrews 13:5)
Hang up on those dodgy con artists and look up to God who promises to supply all the needs of those who submit to his Lordship over their life.•