LAST Monday, two women introduced themselves as clairvoyants to 33-year-old Junnah Cabreros and read her palm. The news story of Superbalita Cebu intern Letta Plando did not give details about the palm reading.

But having had this palm reading trip years back, I presume that the "clairvoyants" told Junnah she had beautiful hands and that they saw that the lines on her palm told of good fortune to come. These "clairvoyants" know how to boost our self-esteem and see the innate goodness of people facing us.

They told Junnah that they would come back the next day and help her fulfill the promise etched on her palm. They asked her to prepare an amount of money for investment.

And so the two clairvoyants returned to Junnah's house in Labangon, Cebu City Tuesday, this time bringing with them a giant clam that they told her was used to culture pearls.

It was a magic clam, they told her.

How much money would Junnah and her husband Roliel entrust to the magic clam? P47,000.

The investment scheme wasn't complicated.

One of the "clairvoyants" told the couple to give her the P47,000. She asked Junnah to bring her to the couple's bedroom but Roliel was not to go with them. Only Junnah could go inside the bedroom and witness the ceremony.

In the bedroom, the "clairvoyant" placed the money inside the "magic clam" and told Junnah that in no way was anyone to open or disturb the magic clam.

The magic clam needed complete silence as it was doubling or tripling the money inside it. The "clairvoyant" explained to Junnah that the clam would "breathe in" the smell of money inside it and "breathe out" actual money. This was how the couple's P47,000 would increase. That's why the magic clam was not to be viewed or touched at all.

The "clairvoyant" asked Junnah to leave the bedroom as she had some more rituals to do in private. She emerged from the room a few minutes later and reminded the couple not to go inside the bedroom. Any sound heard or movement felt by the "magic clam" could disrupt its "breathing." Remember, the magic clam breathes in the smell of money and breathes out actual money.

With that reminder, the "clairvoyant" left.

Man is naturally curious, and the thought of gaining money without a sweat makes him act on his curiosity. And so it was that Junnah and husband Roliel could not contain their curiosity and excitement as well that they, against the admonition of the "clairvoyant," entered their bedroom Wednesday morning and checked on the "magic clam."

They saw the "magic clam" as still as an ordinary clam. They did not hear breathing sounds or see steam or light coming out of it.

So they opened it. Lo and behold! Their P47,000 did not only double, it was gone! In it they found wads of paper but not a single peso bill of their P47,000.

They reported to the police what happened. This was all they could do.

These con artists have methods to gain access to your home and your trust. You're not a random victim. You've been monitored for weeks. They see you but you don't see them because they blend with the environment. They could be a passing vendor, a street cleaner, the person beside you in church or the couple across your table at Jollibee.

We should be wary of strangers, especially those who make you feel at ease. And we should be more wary of get-rich-quick schemes, especially if these involve palm reading and magic clams.