How to Identify & Protect Yourself from Scammers Impersonating Ministers on Facebook
As a Christian who follows several well-known ministers through social media, it irks me to no end that some creepy individuals are trying to scam money from innocent people! I’ve seen countless of these profiles and reported them all. Many of these ministers have had to take to the social media, emails, TV, etc. to warn their followers against these thieves. They should not have to waste breath on this, but they love the people and don’t want anyone [else] to be taken in.
It also horrifies and angers me that there are actual ministers out there utilizing social media for the sake of deceiving the masses into giving their confidence and, eventually their hard-earned money, to them. Today was the third time in the past two years an emissary of David E. Taylor has sent me a faux prophetic word on his behalf in hopes that I’ll latch on the ministry and, ultimately, throw my money at them. And that was the last straw.
I HAD to write a post on this subject because far too many people get taken in by these scammers and deceivers and enough is enough. So with that in mind, here are eight ways to spot these scammers and lying wonders.
8 Ways to Spot Scammers & Deceptive Ministers
1) Check the spelling.
Many of these catfishing profiles will have a slight misspelling in their name/title (i.e. “pastors” instead of “pastor”). My friend’s dad is a well-known Nigerian minister, whom I’d never met. I knew he was recently remarried so I didn’t think much of the “Pastors _______ _________” title on the profile because I thought it was maybe for the couple like some married couples do, but it turns out it was an intentional misspelling meant to deceive people into thinking it was the real pastor. I reported the fraud after feeling them out.
Other times, it could be placing a title in front of the minister’s name that the minister doesn’t usually plaster all over the media like “Apostle Snow White” instead of “Snow White.”
Also, if the so-called minister actually messages you, the messages will be fraught with spelling errors, broken English, and oddly worded phrases that are not akin to native English speakers. There are wonderful Believers and ministers from around the world, but unfortunately, in my experience, many (read = not all) of these scammers tend to be from either Africa or Central/South America. This is not to say that American/European ministers are all perfect spellers, but generally speaking, their copy [content] will not be full of glaring spelling and grammatical errors.
2) Check the type of account.
Many times these scammers will create a PERSONAL PROFILE, not a PROFESSIONAL PAGE. Most professionals in most fields know to set up a PAGE for their ministry or business, instead of a regular personal PROFILE. This is a sure indicator 98.9% of the time.
3) Check how old/new the profile is.
Scammers will create a brand new profile. So unless it’s a brand new ministry/minister (in which case they wouldn’t have anyone impersonating them yet) or a minister/ministry who is actually brand new to Facebook, there is no reason to believe a profile that has JUST been created is the authentic profile of the said minister or ministry. Established ministries generally have established pages.
4) Check the mode of connection.
Scammers and deceivers will you to be their Facebook friend. (See #2.) The simple truth of the matter is these people are WAY too busy to be sitting around adding people on Facebook.
DISCLAIMER: I do have Facebook friends who are well-known ministers. It is actually them setting up and utilizing their profile. They interact with their friends just like they do with their followers on their professional page. There are no weird aberrations between the page and profile. Just use your discernment.
5) Check the pictures.
Fake accounts will often, although not always, have the EXACT.SAME.PICTURES as the real minister’s already-established Page. The same default picture, the same cover image, etc. They’ve literally swiped all the pictures from the established Facebook Page to deceive you. And even with all that, their profile is not nearly as established as the authentic one. (See #3.)
6) Check the speed of communication.
Scammers and deceivers will often inbox you immediately after adding them telling you to send them your prayer requests. Usually within the first 24 hours this will happen. Oftentimes, sooner. If these [real] people are far too busy to add people, then they are entirely too busy to inbox everyone!
7) Check the nature of the inbox message.
Increasingly, many of these scammers and deceivers employ false prophecies, copied and pasted, to deceive people into believing them. This is dangerous because it can actually cross over into witchcraft, so you actually want to be very careful about receiving prophecies on Facebook from people and so-called ministers that you don’t know. And most often, this leads me to my eighth and final point...
8) Check the ask.
Eventually, these people will ask you for money. I’ve never allowed any of these scammers to make it this far with me, but this is always their goal. Gain your trust (borrowed trust really) by using a ministry/minister you know and love, then swindle you out of your money to be used for God knows what. Many times the ploy involves an orphanage in a third world country. But ministers like David E. Taylor actually want you to give the money directly to their ministry so they can misappropriate the funds.
Most ministers with established ministries will have established snail mail and email communications that are well-oiled machines. They don’t take to Facebook or Any other social media outlet to ask for money. And if they do, they WILL NOT inbox you directly begging for your money.
NOTE: If you’re familiar with the minister, then you can recognize when the scammer emailing you doesn’t use the same verbiage, colloquialisms, wording, etc. as the minister you follow. Some crazy man actually wrote that he wanted to give me “tender kisses.” (What the what?!?!) This was clearly an African impersonating some contemporary white minister so the scammer stuck out like a sore thumb. Also, no God-loving (married) minister would so easily (and oddly) welcome personal, intimate interest from a young woman. It’s a recipe for a disaster.
How to Handle Scammers & Deceivers
A) Report them.
Use the necessary Facebook tools to report their profile. If you personally know the minister, you may want to let them know about the profile so they can report it themself. Whenever I report one of these tricksters, Facebook administrators usually quickly shut them down. And sometimes, if they don’t listen to my request, they’ll eventually receive similar reports from other Facebook followers and they delete the accounts at a later time.
B) Use your discernment.
Discernment, unlike the gift of discerning of spirits, is something that is available to every Believer. It goes in the category of wisdom that anyone can ask God for (James 1:5). It is also a muscle that is meant to be exercised and utilized.
C) Pay attention.
In order to recognize the counterfeit, study the authentic. You don’t have to be deep. If you recognize, like the note in point #8 that the “minister” is using language and wording that is foreign to the minister you’re following, then it’s a scammer. Plain and simple.
If it doesn’t look right, read right, or sound right, it ain’t right. Don’t give these creeps your hard-earned money! And don’t blame the innocent ministers! Use these tips to keep yourself from being scammed. Like, comment, and share to keep someone else from these deceptions!