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Friday, July 7, 2017

Religious Scam Artists

     History is full of religious and spiritual scams and scandals. Religious scams can be found anywhere, but they are a particular problem in the United States. Here, the ideal of freedom of religion ends up allowing all kinds of con artists to get away with their scams. Gurus, cult leaders, swamis, ministers, televangelists--they come in all guises, seeking power and money. The most important piece of advice I can give you: Be aware and wary, especially when you're in an emotionally vulnerable state. That's when you're most likely to fall for a religious con….

     Con artists are often exceptionally charming, and religious con artists are no exception. Of course, they have an advantage--most people have a built-in sense of trust toward clergy. A mistaken trust, it sometimes turns out….

     Genuine religious leaders, including swamis, ministers, rabbis, and other spiritual leaders, are primarily interested in saving souls and persuading people to follow their teachings. A con artist pretending to be interested in your spiritual well-being, however, will insist on proof of your faith in the form of large gifts to him or her.

Chuck Whitlock, Scam School, 1997 

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