If you ask me about fear, one experience leaps out in my life—the first time I went bungee jumping. I went with a group of friends and each of us paid for six jumps. Standing atop that platform awaiting my first jump was quite intimidating. I have never been afraid of heights, but the idea of jumping into the air with only a harness attached gave me significantly more anxiety than I had anticipated. In fact, my fear was so intense that the first time I jumped, I opened my mouth to scream and not a sound came out. Of course, by my third jump, I was able to scream. Some of my fear subsided once I knew what to expect.
I learned a couple of things that day. One, I was braver than I thought. Two, as the activity progressed, I became familiar with how to jump, what to expect and how to better manage my fear. Overall, my bungee jumping experience taught me how to face my fears, even ones that I had no idea I had.
Fear is a factor in life and, in this pandemic, it is increasingly more common. We were all rapidly plunged into a state of uncertainty as daily news would break that seemed to contradict information from the day before. This uncertainty and the unknown contributed to a background sense of dread that colored much of our activities during the early months of the pandemic. All of us, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or socially, have been impacted by this virus. However, like my repeated bungee jumps, we have learned new things about ourselves and how to better manage our fears. I am optimistic that we are nearing the end of the pandemic and like my experience bungee jumping the more we learned about COVID-19 and how to better protect ourselves, the easier it has become to face the pandemic head on.
One of the unfortunate outcomes of any crisis is that there are always unscrupulous people seeking to profit from other’s fears. The lead article ‘Fraud and fear: COVID-19 scams’ resonated with me on a personal level as I have witnessed some types of COVID-19 scams attempted on my family and friends. It almost seems that the criminals are adhering to the mantra ‘never let a good pandemic go to waste.’ The article outlines the fraud attempted by criminals such as personal protective equipment scams and others. In the end, COVID-19 has left a legacy of fear, fraud and illegal schemes. As anti-financial crime professionals learn about new schemes and are proactive in building alerts in their existing compliance programs, the criminals will be caught.
One of the highlights of publishing the ACAMS Today Europe edition is the opportunity to showcase articles not only in English, but also in French and German. We are extremely proud of the multitude of subject-matter experts that contribute to the ACAMS Today publication.
This might sound cliché, but facing our fears is cathartic. I hope during these difficult times we have globally faced, we all take a leap (figuratively speaking) of faith into something productive and worth pursuing that we might not have considered doing pre-pandemic.
Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS
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