Column: Hang on to your faith in people – and your ID

Another day, another warning about some nefarious plot to separate unsuspecting people from their hard-earned money and/or steal their identities.

This morning’s caveat comes from a television news magazine reporter, hyping an upcoming piece about cyber security.

Buy two computers, she advises. Do only your online banking on one and everything else on the other.

Well, sure. That seems practical.

Scams are hardly new or uncommon. Anyone with an email account has likely received a desperate plea for help from a Nigerian prince. And far too many elderly people have been taken in by some jerk pretending to be a grandchild who’s found himself in a heap of trouble that can only be remedied with an immediate cash transfer.

As we cotton on to each new scheme, the cheaters become ever more crafty and underhanded.

Of course, we all need to be aware and take reasonable precautions to protect ourselves — both online and in the real world.

But spend enough time listening to these admonitions and you begin to forget that the vast majority of people out there are actually honest and decent folk.

Fortunately for me, that still seems to be the case, at least.

It’s a point that was driven home last week, with a late afternoon knock on my condo door.

There in the hallway stood a couple who informed me they live on the building’s third floor.

In the man’s hand, were my driver’s licence and debit card.

Yes, that was my name and my face — clear evidence the cards weren’t securely zippered into my coat pocket as I would have assumed, had I bothered to give it a moment’s thought.

A woman — a photographer — they told me, had found them in Campbell Valley Park, where I’d been walking a few hours earlier.

Unable to reach me via the building’s intercom, she’d entrusted them to my upstairs neighbours who, in turn, ensured they were promptly hand-delivered to me.

I hadn’t even had time to discover them missing and fly into a well-deserved panic before they were back in my possession.

The usual PIN change and other necessary precautions aside, the fact is, I got very lucky.

After chastising my walking companion for planning to leave her purse in the trunk of her car, my own foolproof plan to carry my cards with me had crashed and burned in rather spectacular fashion, thanks to a moment’s inattention.

The fact that this stranger took the time to bring the cards all the way to my home is remarkable to me.

And I regret that I didn’t get the chance to thank her personally.

Normally, in such cases, I’d suggest an expression of gratitude through a letter to the editor. But, let’s face it, in this case, that would just be weird.

So, thank you, whoever you are.

Your honesty and the effort you made to return my valuable lost items is greatly appreciated.

None of this is to suggest we should let our collective guard down.Obviously, it’s important to remain vigilant about our personal and financial security — online, on the phone or face to face. It’s the new(ish) reality.

But, then again, isn’t it nice to know that we needn’t lose all our faith in humanity just yet?