An interesting op-ed in the Philadelphia Business Journal reveals that scammers have moved on from bank accounts and fake Facebook pages to posing as popular churches, like Hillsong, to get invited speakers to send them money. Apparently, it works.
From Philadelphia Business Journal:
The email came from Phil Dooley; lead Pastor of the Hillsong Church in Cape Town, South Africa. He was inviting me to be the motivational keynote speaker at the church’s January 2014 international leadership conference to be attended by over 1,000 people.
At first I was skeptical so I checked it out. The church was indeed real; founded in 1983 and now has branches in Europe, Africa and the United States that welcomes about 30,000 worshippers weekly.
A Google search on Phil Dooley provided numerous articles praising his work as a former youth pastor who has had an enormous impact on youth and the city of Cape Town. He has over 32,000 followers on Twitter and an active Facebook page with nearly half a million likes. Skepticism quickly turned to flattery and flattery turned to excitement.
So I emailed him back for more details and expressed my eagerness to be part of this great event. Curious as to how I was selected, he said after checking my credentials, reading articles about my work and watching my video blog “we received the Lords direction to invite you to speak”. While I have received valid invitations through the power of the Internet before, to my knowledge, the Lord has never been so directly involved.
Keep reading to see exactly how these scammers do it: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/guest-comment/2013/12/south-african-church-scam-artists-pray.html