Scammers know no bounds in devicing means specially designed to squeeze out money out of the pockets of their followers, more so, they have conviniently created schemes to carry out their illegal trade under the guise of religion.
Faith is such a powerful motivator, but when a healthy dose of gullibilty meets with a significantly charismatic and dramatic fellow, you've got one big mess!
How this scam works
Religious scammers often exploit the gullibility of unsuspecting followers by brandishing the Bible or Quran or any other Holy book for that matter and quoting texts and verses thereof, in a desperate attempt to make them (their followers) believe that blessings, riches, forgiveness, prosperity, health, success and in fact, all good things will come to them ONLY IF they part with their money or property.
They search the scriptures, looking for quotable quotes that can be used to make merchandise of men. Some of their favourites are those scriptures dealing with giving first-fruits to priests.
Sometimes, such scammers threaten that God will take away even the little they (their followers) have or even visit them with calamities if they don't obey and surrender their money.
They sell out healing oils, 'Blessed water', 'Annointed' handkerchief, 'Sleep well' Pillows, Stickers for protection etc. at high prices.
In Nigeria, there is the "ember-month spirit" fallacy which has been widely propagated by religious scammers which involves frightening followers with death, accidents or other vices if they don't pay to 'god' for deliverance.
- When your religious leader is always overly eager to preach about giving out your money or properties.
- The religious leader lives an elaborate or expensive lifestyle while members of the same flock or the immediate community languish in poverty and want.
- When your religious leader starts offering Financial or Investment advice to followers. The spiritual house ought to be a place of worship and not a financial advisory body or an investment house.
How to protect yourself
- Study the Bible or Quran or any Holy book applicable to you, in order to know the real truth so you wouldn't be deceived.
- When in doubt of an investment scheme introduced by your religious leader, contact your financial advisor or a trusted family member or friend for clarification.
- Apply logic and reason before swallowing - hook, line, and sinker all stories told by a religious leader before taking actions.
Have you been scammed?
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
We encourage you to report scams to us via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.