Home > Financial Scams > The Church Con

The Church Con

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 4 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Scams Cons Church Con Community Con Imam

A recent con perpetrated by members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on other members of their congregation highlights a type of scam well worth examining - the church or community con.

With members of various religious flocks, it's easy to understand how the con men gain trust - after all, they belong to the same religion and worship at the same place. Because of that shared bond, there's an assumption that they're trustworthy, but that's definitely not always the case.

How It Works

Some in your church (or mosque or temple) say they work as a City trader, stockbroker, or in a similar financial field. They urge other members to invest with them, promising a high return on the money.

Since they have a good lifestyle, it's easy to believe they're successful at their work. Indeed they are, since their work is conning people out of their savings to fund that lifestyle. But it's also easy to grain the trust of people from the same flock, since the assumption is that anyone who worships regularly is a man who follows religious precepts and wouldn't bilk others.

Once the money has been given, the chances of seeing it again are fairly low. The scammers spend it - they might invest some, but they don't have any special skills - and put the victims off with tales and excuses until it's too late and they move on. It's not especially subtle or clever, and the odds are that they'll be caught sooner rather than later. But by that time it's too late for the victims, whose money has already gone.

How To Prevent It

When it comes to money, suspicion is a great tool, even when it involves religion. A shared religious belief doesn't necessarily count for much.

Do what you'd do with anyone - ask for proof about the return on the investments. If you're given pieces of paper with figures on them, don't take those at face value - anyone can print up a sheet like that. Ask to talk to others who've invested (not just one, but several) and, above all, also have everything vetted independently. Remember, it's your money, and you have the right to know you're making a good move with it. If it all seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

If the conmen become insistent, saying you need to invest now or it will be too late, walk away. Don't let yourself be pressured into parting with your savings. Don't allow yourself to be swayed by that shared bond of faith to give the person the benefit of the doubt.

Make sure you know exactly what's involved, and get it all in writing.

What To Do If You're A Victim

If you believe you've been the victim of a con from a member of your faith, you need to inform the police as soon as possible. By all means talk to your vicar, or imam or rabbi, but your first stop should be the police, because a crime has been committed. Give all the information and the relevant paperwork that you have.

Use the place of worship to inform others about what's happened, since you probably won't be the only victim.

In all likelihood, you won't see your hard-earned money again, as it will have already been spent, but you can help stop others being victims.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Sean Trinidad
    Re: Visa Credit Card Scam
    Hey im her for a crediit card i am a bissnise mann and i do a lot of things
    7 October 2020
  • Alimck
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from a very unsure SE Asian sounding woman who sounded as though she was in an exceptionally busy call centre- very difficult to make…
    1 October 2020
  • Andy
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    01822 751059 01875 979762 01848 695282 All in the past week. All claiming to be from Sky tech support. I just hang up. But it's getting really…
    22 September 2020
  • nikasavictim
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Be aware of the company called Nikasa Build & Design. We made a big mistake in trusting them and giving them thousands of pounds in advance for a…
    25 August 2020
  • caroline23red
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I just received a call from 01846 261 362 saying they were from Sky, very unsure asian voice which sounded to come from a call centre but I was…
    10 August 2020
  • Jaybee
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I had a a man from abroad, indian I think, call me on my landline claiming to be from Sky, I was told my top box insurance was due and I needed to pay…
    5 August 2020
  • Amira
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I’ve just had a phone call from a man claiming to be from sky telling me that he needs me to log into my computer so that he can help me set up my new…
    6 July 2020
  • Yak
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had phone call saying my sky broadband wasn't working correctly and could I go to my computer and log into sky There is nothing wrong with my…
    29 June 2020
  • Enzo11
    Re: Congestion Charge Scam
    Due to payment failure your Congestion Charge Auto Pay service will be suspended on 05/04/2020.To pay log onto tfl.gov.uk/congestioncharge…
    31 March 2020
  • Sue
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I just had phone call but it was from my own number saying they were sending me new box as mine was out of date. The address they had I moved from ten…
    18 March 2020