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Should I give my “friend” $300?

I’ve only known my online friend for a month but they need a new phone. 

I’m going to be blunt, says our elder. Do not give this person any money!

 

Dear EWC

Is it a good idea to send my online friend $300 to buy a new phone since their current phone is pretty much busted? I’ve known them for a month and their birthday is coming up. Their phone lags all the time and I feel bad for them. I am financially stable. However, I grew up being told to be very careful with money. Also, since they are an online friend, I am afraid it’s foolish to spend on a ‘stranger’ like this. I will be happy and super grateful to hear your advice. P.S I asked if they can offer a phone anytime soon; they told me not for the rest of the year or even more.

 

JensPen replies

I am so glad that you have written for some advice regarding your online friend. I am going to be straightforward and perhaps a bit blunt but my immediate answer is do not send any money!

I can tell that you are a very caring and kind person and that is absolutely wonderful. However, you really don’t know this person at all. You say that you are financially stable and that is a really good thing at any time but especially during these difficult times we are dealing with right now. So many people have lost their jobs and are struggling financially.

My advice is to listen to your gut instinct… which based on your letter is telling you not to do this. Unfortunately, there are many people online who are not what they seem to be. I am not saying that this is the case with your “friend” but that it is a very common occurrence that people befriend someone online, gain their trust and confidence and then slowly various situations arise where they have a situation and just ask you to help them out a little bit financially. Unfortunately, once you do it the likelihood is that they will continue to ask and you will continue to give. There are so many stories of people both young and old who have been scammed this way.

Truth be told it almost happened to me. I met a man online who was so charming and sweet and attentive. He called and texted me all the time for a month. Then all of a sudden, he had a “business situation” where he needed my help to do something with the bank. My radar went up immediately as did a million red flags. I asked a lot of questions and when I finally said no I wouldn’t do it he guilt tripped me by saying how could I not believe him or help him with this tiny favor etc. Luckily for me I caught on before he got any of my hard-earned money.

$300 is a lot of money to give to anyone for their birthday or any other reason, especially someone you don’t know. I know you are probably thinking that I’m wrong and this person is really a good friend but you wrote for advice because you have your doubts. You are smart and mature. You know what the answer is and I am confident you will do the right thing. Don’t be surprised if this “friend” tries very hard to get you to send the money but if they won’t take no for an answer are they really such a great friend?

Good luck! I have confidence in your decision.

Article #: 460883

Category: Friendship

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