Got this in my inbox the other day:
Subject: MY VOW TO YOUR CHURCH
Brethren praise the living God!!!
Brethren praise the lord,I wish to tell you that I have a debtor in the United Kingdom London who has been owning me 15,000,Pounds for a long time now.
I made a vow of 10% of the money to the Church anytime I will be paid and now my debtor is ready to pay. He will therefore be sending you a Cheque for 15,000, Pounds to cover the 10%, as promise.
On receipt of the Cheque, you will cash and deduct the 10% of my vow while the balance you would send to me as I will instruct you to.
Please do send me your address where to send the Cheque, as well as the name to be on it. Also send me your phone numbers for quicker communication.
Thank You Jesus.
look foward to your prompt reply,
Needless to say I was quite amused. First by the fact that this person somehow thinks I’m a Pastor. Secondly by the fact that this is such a ridiculously obvious scam that I can’t believe it works on anyone. Alas, it’s representative a growing trend in money scams: playing on a person’s religious beliefs. In the past the devout have been fleeced by scams involving the purchase of low-mileage used cars offered at ridiculously good prices for fellow church goers (the cars didn’t actually exist nor did the benevolent wealthy owner) and variations on the Nigerian email scam that tossed a lot of Christian mumbo-jumbo in. Now we have someone mailing us a “cheque” out of the blue for us to cash and deduct our 10% from as long as we’re good enough Christians to send the remainder back to the person who took us into his confidence.
I haven’t heard if anyone has actually fallen for this latest one yet, but I’m willing to bet someone out there will be gullible enough to try it. The sad part is that these scammers have recognized the fact that religious people are already buying into some pretty outrageous claims by which their scam seems almost reasonable in comparison. Wrap enough religious cloth around your scam and you’ve got a credulous audience ready for the taking. Too many people out there who want to believe no one would be cynical enough to prey upon the devout so they often end up trusting even when their instincts tell them not to.