There is a scam on the Internet targeted at too-trusting Christians. The format of the email is cunningly designed to give the appearance of an honest, sincere, born again Christian writer. The premise involves accepting a massive donation to help out a local church ministry (from a donor who claims to have carefully and prayerfully chosen that church and/or individual). Other scams include requests for funding to help with a much-needed surgery, or to help in fighting communists, Muslim terrorists, or other groups which might persecute Christians.
When the bait is taken, everything goes along wonderfully until a sudden roadblock arises and threatens to scuttle the whole deal. Some scammers will go so far as to send you a money order to prove their good intent, asking only that you send them some money as soon as possible by Western Union or other direct means. The money order will of course bounce on you within days, by which point the scammer is long gone, along with the money you've sent via Western Union.
Other scams will involve telling you sorrowfully that some millions of dollars to be donated to a worthy cause via your bank account cannot be released because a bank transfer fee, government tax, export fee, legal fee, etc. has to be paid up front (by you). The donor has no funds to pay this fee, and payment can't come from the millions of dollars which is frozen, so they ask to have money sent by you to pay the fee. If this unexpected fee is paid, another fee request materialises, and so on. The game ends when the victim gets suspicious. Of course not one cent of the millions promised is ever received and the victim is left sadder, poorer, and hopefully wiser.
The following is an example of a scam letter about a church donation.
FROM: ELIZABETH SAYED
A CONTRIBUTION FOR THE WORK OF GOD
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am former Mrs Fatima Linda Sayed, now Mrs Elizabeth Sayed, a widow to Late Sheik Mohammed Sayed, I am 74years old, I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast, from all indications, that my condition is really deteriorating and is quite obvious that I won't live more than six months,because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. My late husband was killed during the Gulf war, and during the period of our marriage we couldn't produce any child. My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his business and wealth.The doctor has advised me that I may not live for more than six months, so I now decided to divide part of this wealth, to contribute to the development of the church in Africa, America and Europe.
I selected you and your church after visiting the webs and I prayed over it,I am willing to donate the sum of US$5,000 000.00(Five Million US Dollars) to your Church for the development of your church and also for the less privileged. Please I want you to note that, this fund is laying in a Security Company, for that my lawyer will file in application for the transfer of the money in the name of your ministry.
Lastly I honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used for the said purpose, because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without Christ is vanity upon vanity. Alleluyah, "If you have to die" says the Lord, "keep fit and I will give you the crown of life."
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.Please if you are interested contact my attorney at: [[email protected]] for further details. I await your soonest reply as you could.
Yours in Christ
Mrs Elizabeth Sayed.