ABC Extra – It’s Good To Be Old

September 5, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Recently, I read a news report concerning a rash of scams in Grand Prairie, Texas.  According to the story, crooks offer to sell folks iPads and MacBooks in the parking lots of local area shopping centers and convenience stores.  The asking price?  $300 for one of the products or $500 for both.  Considering a MacBook starts at $1,000 and an iPad starts at $500, this deal is too lucrative for many to pass up.  However, as the old saying goes: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  And this was certainly the case in this situation.  After unsuspecting buyers purchased MacBooks and iPads, upon opening the packaging, they found out that it contained only a block of wood, cleverly painted and disguised to make it look like a Mac device.  As I read this report, I especially appreciated the final line of the police release, which noted:  “The public should be advised that it is unwise to purchase anything from the trunk of a car, no matter how good the deal seems.”[1]  True indeed.

Unfortunately, scammers are always on the lookout for those who are greedy, gullible, or distraught.  Last week, a cable news show featured some massive scams that took advantage of 9.11 victims shortly after the attacks.  Sadly, the elderly seem to be an especially favorite target of scammers.  Earlier this year, ABC News ran a story on what it called “The Imposter Grandchildren Scam.”[2]  In this scam, a con artist contacts an elderly person by phone, claiming to be a grandchild who is in some sort of serious trouble – be it a car accident, or being stranded in some foreign country.  The supposed “grandchild” then begs for financial assistance, asking the elderly person not to tell his or her parents.  Unfortunately, many elderly people have wired cash to what they thought was their grandchild, only to find out later that they had been scammed.  Con artists who prey on the elderly do so because these people can be especially easy targets because they are often easily confused.

This past weekend in worship and ABC, we talked about the glory of aging.  Solomon celebrates the elderly in his Proverbs:  “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31).  Because aging and being aged is a good thing according to Scripture, we are to show respect for the elderly, as Moses reminds us: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).  Schemes and scams that prey on the elderly, then, are wholly inappropriate and sinful.

As I talked about in ABC, our culture does not have a high view of aging.  To be young is much preferred to being old.  And yet, Scripture speaks of the elderly with special affection and calls upon us who are younger to treat those who are older with respect and dignity.  Is there an elderly person who has played a special role in your life?  Take some time this week to write a note, make a phone call, or even stop by for a visit and express your thanks to them.  For these elderly people are gifts from God and deserve our thanks.

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[1] Jordan Golson, “Buying an iPad in a Parking Lot is a Bad Idea,” (August 29, 2011).

[2] Susanna Kim, “Imposter Grandchildren Scam the Elderly for Big Bucks,” (March 29, 2011).

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