Clergy scams are not new in society, and many devoted believers still fall prey to these scams. The scammers often conduct their transgressions by posing as religious leaders. They then persuade unsuspecting congregants into spending money (hundreds of dollars) on gift cards (allegedly for someone in need) and disappear after successfully swindling a victim.
They Steal the Identity Clergy
Faith scams are not limited to a given faith group; they happen across all faiths and the United States. Religious scammers have swindled Christians, Jews, Catholics, protestants, Buddhists and Muslims. Daniel, a rabbi aged 56 years, considers the act as sacrilegious. Since August, when he joined Congregation Ahavas Achim in New Hampshire, scammers have stolen his identity several times in scam attempts. Whenever this happens, the synagogue alerts its members xnxx. The rabbi once received news that a congregant was reportedly swindled about $600 in a gift-card scam. However, the victim, he says, refuses to be identified.
A Scammed Widow
On a February evening, A 60-year-old widow residing near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, received an email from a scammer impersonating her Christian pastor. The email appeared quite legit because the address closely resembled her pastor’s. The woman said the pastor (scammer) was out of town and needed a favor. The favor entailed buying $100 gift cards for five ladies undergoing cancer treatment. He specified Amazon and eBay cards and assured her he would pay back using cash or check. She hastily bought Amazon gift cards worth $500 at Walgreens and sent him the pictures of their numbers. The codes gave him instant access to the funds. However, the imposter did not stop there. That evening, the scammer texted requesting more cards, and the next morning he said he wanted ten $100 gift cards. At this moment, she suspected him and sent him a text calling him a liar and a thief. The text (full of furry) warned the fraudster that God was watching his actions. The widow says that the loss she incurred would derail her dream of buying her home. Despite the numerous failed attempts, this is the first time she has fallen for a scam.
A Widespread Menace
Many people can attest to comparable scams. Facebook has numerous posts from religious leaders advising their congregants to disregard sham emails sent in their names. An instance occurred in April 2020, when the Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ encouraged members to remain vigilant concerning emails from church leaders. According to the church, suspicious messages often request some unusual action like wiring money or purchasing gift cards. The Phoenix-based organization noted that email scams had hit several congregations, including its conference. News sources point out that catholic parishes in Ohio and synagogues in Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mary Land, and New Jersey have been targeted. An 80-year-old woman from Delray Beach, Florida, bought a gift card worth $10,500 for a person she supposed was her clergyman. In another incident, a 78-year-old man in Madison, Wisconsin, bought $900 in gift cards for a man he was convinced was his pastor.
Scammed by Televangelist
Some clergymen swindle their poor congregants through the gospel of prosperity. Most of them are televangelists and often refer to money as seed. If viewers plant some amount, they will receive the seed amount in multiple amounts. The faithful followers are taught that they are investing in their faith and future. In 2011, Larry (a desperate viewer), residing in California, watched different prosperity preachers on TV. These scammers openly link wealth and religion. He fell for one who appeared compelling and assured quick returns. He appeared a result-oriented preacher, and Larry needed fast returns. It was tough for him and his family. He, alongside his daughter, was sick, his business was struggling, and his car and van broke down irreparably in the same week. He sold his van to a local junkyard at $600. He thought of investing it as seed, and yes, he did so and waited for his miracle. While the compelling speeches created hope in him, Larry now knows that donated cash would not multiply