Awwww...give me a break. I'm actually supposed to feel sorry for this Oregon woman who is out $400,000 because of...well, GREED! I feel as sorry for her as I feel for the folks who took out home loans they couldn't pay back or the CEOs of bankrupt companies who get to lose their jobs with tens of millions in severance pay.This woman mortgaged her house, took a lien out on the family car and ran through her husband's retirement account. How and why? Well, here it comes: she received an e-mail promising her $20.5 million if she would only help out a long-lost relative with a little money up front. Her family and bank officials told her it was a scam and begged her to stop, but she was obsessed with the thought of becoming a multi-millionaire.This whole affair was a scheme called the "Nigerian scam" and it's familiar to many people with e-mail accounts. Over the last several years, one of these has come to my email address. They promise you zillions of dollars for just thousands of dollars necessary to jump-start some transfer of money or some business.I remember long ago seeing a
TV program with six women all complaining that some guy scammed them by "wining and dining" them...on their own money! The guys would say they were coming into lots of money, but they needed a place to live and money to spend until their golden ship came in....oh please....this was a study in denial: "I'm getting attention so I'll deep-six my brain."Back to this woman in Oregon. She's gotten herself and her husband into horrific debt and who knows if, how, or when they'll be able to get out of it.As a psychotherapist, I'm frankly happy with some aspects of America's economic crisis. While stores are worried that people don't impulse buy any more, or that the purchase of frivolous, unnecessary, redundant or "show-off" things is dropping, I'm glad that so many adults, and hopefully their children, are learning an important lesson in the difference between want and need, and the potential devastation of leveraging yourself with debt for possessions that ultimately don't matter much. During the recent California fires, people didn't run out of their homes with their cars, iPods or fancy clothes. They left with photos of the family as their number one concern. I don't feel sorry for that Oregonian - I feel sorry for the family she devastated financially with her greed.