With all the fake news, conspiracy antics, and whatever those crazy Russians are up to these days, I think it’s important to take a step back once in a while to remember that sometimes you should place your trust in strangers on the internet.
Some of my best moments, finds and friends have come as a result of putting trust in random people I’ve met online.
In the pre-Airbnb days, I met a German fellow in an online forum for travelers. He asked if he could sleep on my couch when he arrived in Denver, and I said yes. I was in college at the time, so I didn’t have a couch to speak of, but my parents did. My mother was not pleased. What if he was a murderer or a jewel thief? But they decided to trust him. Even though he overstayed his welcome by approximately six months, he did not turn out to be a murderer or make off with my mother’s jewelry. In fact, he became a dear friend who just came back for a visit last year to attend my sister’s wedding.
Recently, I was scouring the internet for concert tickets to a sold-out show. Everything was marked up by 200 percent, and I couldn’t justify spending the equivalent of my mortgage on a single show. So I went looking for a miracle, and I found it on Craigslist.
Ticket for sale, face value.
“I WANT THE TICKET AND I’M SUPER TRUSTWORTHY,” I type-yelled into the internet void.
I anxiously awaited the reply, trying to figure out how I could prove my trustworthiness. A woman wrote back to inform me that there was someone ahead of me, but if they didn’t answer her soon, she would sell the ticket to me.
Wanting to appear cool, I shot back with, “DON’T WAIT! YOU CAN’T TRUST PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET, BUT YOU CAN TRUST ME. I’M VERY TRUSTWORTHY. I WILL GIVE YOU CASH MONEY RIGHT NOW.”
She congratulated me on my persistence and agreed to sell me the ticket. I transferred the money to her over a payment app, and then I waited. I waited and waited and waited. Nothing. No response from her, no concert tickets arrived in my email. Nothing.
I had been swindled.
I worried about the safety of the payment app and deleted my information in case she was actually a bot. I don’t know what a bot is, but I didn’t want it to steal my financial identity. I was sad that the Russians had scammed me. It had to be Russians. How could I be so stupid? I watch the news. I know I should be watching out for Russians around every corner of the internet.
I chalked up the $75 as a loss, minor compared to what the Russians had already stolen from my countrymen.
Suddenly my phone pinged. “Tickets have been transferred to your account.”
Faith in internet strangers restored.
Read more Marsh: coloradodaily.com/columnists