Four times now, I’ve had a message on Instagram or Facebook from a friend asking me to do something for him or her or to give money. It’s always a scam of some sort, and I realize immediately because the message doesn’t sound like my friend.
I’ve recently decided to test the scammers who are hacking my friends’ accounts. I’ve started to write back, “Hey, this doesn’t sound like you. If this is you, how did we first meet?” The scammer will sometimes respond with “C’mon. Please help me out!” and the conversation ends. Sometimes, I’ll send the scammer on a rabbit trail of proving themselves to me. I’ll ask, “OK, if this is you, what is the name of your dog?” The scammer will sometimes access old posts of the person they are impersonating and come back with the right answer. I’ll say, “Well done! Now, what was the name of the dog you had when we first met?” The conversation will usually end right there. If it’s a student of mine being impersonated, I’ll ask, “What am I most known for at PSU?” The scammer won’t ever know the answer. (It’s the Name Games and Strong Verb List.)
In John 10, I love how Jesus says that His followers know His voice. And He knows us. We know the voice of our Good Shepherd. We know if something is from God–an idea, a prompting, a call to obedience–if it sounds like something God would say. Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Sure, the scammers are out there, but we know how to expose them.