Dear Dr. Wallace:
Help, I’ve been scammed! I thought the only victims who “got taken” by fraudulent email scams were older folks. Sadly, I now know that even we young adults are more prone to falling for scams than we think we are.
My tale of woe started off with a friendly email from someone who seemed to be a nice guy and who wanted me to provide him with an opportunity to prove it, especially during these trying times of the pandemic. I know firsthand how much COVID-19 has impacted my life and the lives of my family members and my closest friends.
So, I guess I was already kind of softened up and more pliable to a good, but in hindsight obviously false, email. It turned out to be a “donate to help fight cancer” scam, and because I had personal experience with that, I overlooked the red flags and became a victim.
The mistake I made was not noticing that the email was not addressed to me using my first name. There were also many grammatical errors in the email. Now, I know the scammer randomly chose me, and sadly, I was naive and too trusting.
My money and my pride are gone for the moment, but fortunately, although I gave enough to wince at now that I know the truth, the amount won’t impact my life in a truly negative way. At least I now feel I’ve learned my lesson — the hard way. I’m writing to you to warn other teens and young adults to be very careful who they send money to these days. There are a lot of con artists out there, and some know the game they play all too well.
— Hard Lesson Learned, via email
Dear Hard Lesson Learned: We often think ignorance is a prerequisite to getting scammed. However, sometimes the problem isn’t knowing too little but rather knowing a bit too much — so much that you relate to the situation being posited, just as you did.
Over the years, I’ve read stories of the many Ponzi schemes that have taken down some wealthy, intelligent victims and siphoned off their money, sometimes in pretty large chunks.
I’m glad that your lesson was not too painful and that you’ve both learned your lesson and provided a warning via your letter to others in your wonderful generation.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I know you don’t believe in taking drugs such as marijuana, coke or speed for any reason. But my sister has a form of epilepsy and had days where she had seizures by the dozens, it seems.
My parents and the doctors had tried everything, and lo and behold, a newer treatment actually seemed to work for her. That treatment was an FDA-approved drug called Epidiolex. Years later, my sister is alive and seizure-free after taking the treatment that includes a medical cannabis-derived drug. I was just curious if you think even this type of medical cannabis should be outlawed.
— Concerned Sister, via email
Concerned Sister: Parents and patients who are desperate for solutions to their medical conditions and seeking new treatments for a specific diagnosis should consult with doctors and specialists to determine what treatment is best.
I did some research and have noted that the specific product you’ve mentioned is indeed FDA-approved and has helped many people now, including your sister. I feel that’s wonderful, and since she’s receiving it under her doctor’s care for a specific purpose, I am very happy to know this product is available and can help those like your sister enjoy a vastly improved quality of life.