Yes, I — a complete stranger on the internet — deliberately took your money in exchange for floor seats to a ZZ Top concert. Yes, those very same floor seats that were neither realistically priced nor ever actually in my possession. Now, instead of perseverating on the money you lost and riffs you won’t hear, consider what you do own: an opportunity to grow wiser.

Sure, you could label me a “heartless con artist,” but why not view me as an “extremely online altruist?” In fact, I suggest you think of what happened between us not as an “internet scam,” but rather, a remarkably expensive “online learning experience” you never wanted.

Today’s lesson? Don’t trust anyone on the internet. Not even someone like me: a seemingly trustworthy stranger who was “only selling these sick AF front row tix to the see the big dub-Z Top because of a last-minute work thing, ugh.”

With that in mind: how you proceed forward with your life rests — unlike those ZZ Top tickets — in your hands.

Call it fraud? Then spend your next three hours on the phone with yet another faceless stranger to whom you must explain why sending $400 on Zelle to GuitarsNBeards420@hotmail “didn’t raise any red flags.” Not to mention frequent reminders that you absolved Wells Fargo of any wrongdoing when you used a third party wire service, despite the Wells Fargo website’s endorsement of Zelle as “a safe way to transfer funds.” This path is, of course, rife with deserved condescension and Wells Fargo hold music — if you choose to embark upon it.

However, should you consider this an online learning experience, you’ll realize what I shorted you in tickets, I supplied tenfold in unsolicited insight. Never again shall you lose $400 nor the chance to see guitarist Billy Gibbons shred through “La Grange” at Skyy Vodka Amphitheater. Nothing rocks harder than sweet, priceless knowledge.

Whether you view me as a scammer or scholar, know I consider my honorable work spreading unwelcome world-wariness and skepticism a cross to bear. I am a reluctant teacher of hard e-knocks.

Still failing to see your net sum gains? Think of it this way: had you not been ripped off by a well-intentioned mentor such as myself, then a real, conniving criminal might have lured you in with inexpensive Bachman-Turner Overdrive tickets and left you equally penniless and empty-headed. Honestly, it’s disgusting how many con artists are online, tricking innocent folk without imparting any lesson.

I’m reminded of that old saying, “You have to lose $400 in an internet scam to save the next $400, even if that means a net loss.” A lot to be learned there.

So, why not return your money? Well, what would you learn if you got your $400 back? Nothing, of course. Plus, I think I deserve some compensation for my righteous work. Discouragingly, charity work and raising awareness for internet fraud doesn’t pay off the internet bills and I’m already well past due on those bad boys.

Remember, I scam not because of my past due bills, but rather to raise awareness of the horrible monsters on the internet that want to take your money without remorse. That’s why I implore you to not view yourself as the victim of an internet scam, but an unwitting student of life. And, if you’re hoping to learn more of my teachings, feel free to send over a credit card number anytime.