When you meet new people, how well do you know them before you invite them into your home? Today, when most people hear about identity theft, they think of hackers stealing personal information over the Internet. Sure, you have to protect yourself on-line, but you also must be careful of new acquaintances and friends that you meet in the real world. How trusting are you? Here is a scenario that was relayed to me recently:
My friend Pam had always wanted to take a class in pottery but there was never anything offered in her area. One day, she received a class schedule from her local community college and saw the perfect class for her: Pottery 101. It was a 10 week course, close to home and the price was right, so she signed up. The first day of class, she was early and chose a seat towards the back of the room. Tony came in the room shortly after and sat next to her. They had some time to talk before class started and found conversation very easy. There was no romantic interest, but Pam thought that Tony would make a great friend.
Pam and Tony would go out for coffee every night after class, sometimes with a group and sometimes alone. Either way, they really enjoyed each other’s company, so they started making plans to go out on weekends. The first time Tony picked Pam up at her apartment, she gave him the grand tour, which included her home office. Tony admired the antique safe that was in a prominent position. Pam told him that she bought it at an estate sale and it was where she kept all her important papers. She said she never had a combination for it, and jokingly added that she felt that it looked impressive enough to deter any burglar. Because of this, she felt it didn’t need to be locked.
For months, they hung out together. Pam talked about her family that was living in another state and how difficult it was sometimes to live so far from them. Tony could sympathize since he had recently become a US citizen, but his girlfriend wasn’t yet able to come over from their native country. Time went on and they became almost inseparable friends and confidants.
After knowing each other for a little over a year, Tony announced that he was going to visit his family and girlfriend overseas. Pam was so happy for him because she knew how much he missed them all. She drove him to the airport and saw him off. She didn’t expect to hear from him during his trip, but she was to pick him up in two weeks. Pam had all of Tony’s flight information and got to the airport a few minutes before the plane landed.