The couple, who were wary of potential scammers when contacted by strangers, listened to the man who claimed he was a Los Angeles Police Department detective and asked for their help in an investigation designed to arrest identity thieves. In the end, they lost their entire life savings, nearly $500,000, and were once left unable to buy groceries. It wasn’t a simple fraud case. The so-called detective was frequently in phone contact with the couple over several months, grooming them to trust him.Well, no, they weren't wary. If they were wary, they would have called LAPD and asked to speak with the named detective. If there was no such name, end of story. If there was such a name, a brief conversation would establish that he wasn't the same man who was "asking for help". Again end of story, except that LAPD would undoubtedly start looking for a man who was impersonating LAPD officers. Cops don't like that. End of scam. 5 minutes to save $500,000. Pretty good deal. Quote from one of those old FBI shows: "You can't cheat a careful** man who checks things before acting on them." Nowadays checking is vastly easier than it was in the '50s, but nobody bothers to do it. Why didn't the elderly couple think of making the simple phone call? Perhaps because everyone "knows" now that police are the enemy. Thanks, Prophet Sharpton! Your hard work is bearing evil fruit! ** This version of the saying is never heard; instead you always hear "You can't cheat an honest man." The latter is PRECISELY false. Honest people are the most cheatable of all. I suspect the people in the above story are strongly honest, which means they are innocent; cheating simply doesn't occur to them. The usual saying refers correctly to a less important case. A dishonest man is somewhat easy to cheat because he's busy looking for his own angle and fails to see the scammer's angle. Careful avoids both problems. If you form the habit of pausing to check everything that looks like a request or offer, your own tendencies can't steer you wrong in either direction.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.