Never trust a stranger. Your mom probably taught you that when you were young.

“Even if a stranger has candy, never go with him.”

You’d nod your head.

“Not even if he has a cute puppy.”

And you were like, “What if it’s a really cute puppy?”

NO, NOT EVEN IF IT’S A CUTE PUPPY!

You listened to your parents. You stayed away from strangers with their lollipops and adorable pound puppies. Then you grew up and thought, “Kids, they’ll fall for anything! I’m so glad that I’m so much smarter now.”

Are you?

What would you do if a man came up to you holding the hand of a five-year-old child, “Sir, excuse me? Could I borrow your phone? Mine’s dead, we’re really in a jam.”

Jeez, that kid looks so sad and tired. And it’s a really cute kid. Poor kid. Poor dad. Everyone has those days where their phone dies or they need a helping hand with a situation. Maybe you’re a dad too and you totally understand.

“Sure,” you say and hand over your phone so this guy can call his wife.

You idiot.

Said needy stranger and his sad looking kid, take off as fast as they can toward their car and drive away — with your phone.

Sound silly? It happened to someone we know. Criminals have tactics to lower their victims’ guards. Sure, maybe a cute puppy won’t work anymore (then again, maybe it still would). But what if the criminal comes across as a parent in need? What if they have their child with them? What if they look like they really need help? You don’t want to be one of those people that just leaves someone in need, do you. DO YOU? 

That’s the kind of thinking these criminals are counting on.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think someone needs help, don’t hand over your phone. Make the call yourself. Call for backup. Call the police. Don’t just hand over the device with all your personal information because you suddenly feel empathy for a person you don’t know, when you’re unsure of what the situation really is. Do they need medical care? Did they just miss a bus? Did they lose track of their kid? What is actually going on? Could it be they just want to steal your phone? Don’t go around giving strangers the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be tricked and don’t be afraid to cry stranger danger.

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