A speaker scam?

A good friend of ours at Public Words, a successful public speaker, recently received a speaking inquiry from a prestigious university in the United Kingdom.  The request came via email, and there were a number of indications that it wasn’t on the level.  The email address was a Gmail account, not the university’s email.  The sender purported to be a professor at the school, but there was no record of such a professor in the university’s online database.  Of course, he might have been newly appointed, but his command of the English language was so bad that our friend was immediately suspicious. 

On further investigation, there was no mention of the conference our friend was supposed to speak at on the university’s website.  In addition, there was an unusual request to “get a work permit” from the “British embassy” (via another Gmail account).

All signs seemed to point to fraud.  And, in addition, the amount of money offered for speaking was unusually large – the final straw. 

My question to everyone is:  have you run across anything similar?  What’s the point – would the scammer have asked for bank information at a later stage if our friend had continued?  If you’ve run across speaker scams like this, please let me know. 

Comments

  1. Scott says

    My guess is that they are going to ask for some sort of account number to “transfer” money, or that by filling out a “work visa” they would get enough vital information for identity theft.

  2. says

    Yes, I am a speaker and have heard of the UK scam from several people.
    Enjoyed your book immensely. Heard about it from Chris Brogan. Read it twice in fact. Especially liked the part about the story archetypes …rags to riches, boy meets girl.
    Jeff

  3. says

    I get a scam inquiry about speaking arounf once a year. It’s always is pretty obvious with blatant tipoffs like the ones you mentioned. I hope I’m never duped, but I think I google / research a bit on every speaking inquiry before responding just so I have some background to have a discussion with them. I guess it has the added benefit of scam screening.

  4. says

    Ask at NSA and Speakernet and you will find that variations of this scam have been happening for a long time – perhaps more so in this increasingly internet-connected world.

  5. says

    Thanks to Scott, Jeff, Chris and Kare for the insightful comments. In a way, it’s comforting (but depressing) to know that it’s a common scam. Beware!

  6. Moira Bindner says

    I represent a speaker and we just had this experience. We caught it before the bank account got involved but there was some information the theives got. Be very wary.
    thanks for this posting

  7. says

    Thanks for your comment, Moira. I hope nothing too important got compromised. I also received email from a Christian church saying that the preacher had been approached with the Christian version of the scam. Fortunately, they figured it out right away, because the sums offered were unrealistically high.
    Beware, everyone!

  8. Janis K. Walton says

    Received this one and smelled a rat. They look good, have legitimate looking websites in the U.S. and in the U.K. Maybe they are using a real churches site?
    Found out that someone else at my speaker’s bureau received it too. Here it is:
    Grace and Peace unto you Cheryl Lacey Donovan ,
    We are Rev Mike Kendall and Debby Kendall of the Brownhill Road Baptist Church
    292 Brownhill Road, Catford, SE6 1AU London United Kingdom.We are writing to invite you to be our guest
    speaker at this year WOMEN OF HOPE CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE 2010.After
    reading through your profile on http://www.cheryllaceydonovan.org
    The lord has direct us to email you for this assignment.All travel
    arrangements,Speaking fees and Hotel accommodation will be taken care
    of as soon as you honor this invitation.
    Venue
    Church Hall Brownhill Road Baptist Church
    292 Brownhill Road, Catford, SE6 1AU
    London United Kingdom
    Website:www.womenofhopeconference.com( under construction)
    Expected audience: 1500
    Date 1st October to 3th October 2010
    Topic:PURSUING PURPOSE WITH THE POWER, PASSION AND PRESENCE OF GOD”
    We will send you all binding documents including a Letter of
    Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you honor our invitation.
    Email any questions you may have to:
    brownhillbaptistdeskoffice@gmail.com
    We await your earliest response.
    Remain Blessed
    Brownhill Road Baptist Church
    292 Brownhill Road, Catford, London, SE6 1AU
    London United Kingdom
    http://www.brownhillbaptists.org.uk
    Host Pastors:Rev Mike Kendall and Debby Kendall
    Email:brownhillbaptistdeskoffice@gmail.com
    Tel Phone: + 44 7024069826

  9. says

    Here’s the speaker invitation I received.
    The tip-offs:
    > An invitation to fly across the ocean to speak didn’t seem likely, since they only visited my website and hadn’t heard me speak before.
    > the Gmail account
    > The church website made no reference to the pastor named in the letter.
    > The event was going to have 1500 in attendance, when according to the church website, they only have 50 adult members.
    > the phone number on the email did not match the number on the church website
    > the church website did not list the event on the master calendar
    > the event is supposed to be a “youth” conference, when the ages of attendees is listed as 18-55
    > the invitation arrives in September for an event in November
    Here’s the original email:
    From: Pastor Dennis Smith [mailto:avenuebaptisttchurch@gmail.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 9:38 AM
    To: letters@familyministries.com
    Subject: AVENUE YOUTH CONFERENCE 2010
    Avenue Baptist Church,
    98 Avenue Road,
    Beckenham,
    Kent,
    BR3 4SA
    WEBSITE: http://www.avenuebaptist.org
    TELEPHONE: +44 702 404 7721
    fax:020 8676 3785
    REQUEST FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
    Beloved ___ And _________,
    I am Pastor Brian Smith from the aforementioned organization, we write you to seek your engagement in our upcoming conference tagged AVENUE YOUTH CONFERENCE 2010″ coming up 15th -18th November 2010.The purpose of these conference is to re-brand the heart,mind,body and soul of Christians who have gone astray and are diverting their whole attention into mundane affairs instead of seeking eternal life.
    With all these at hand, we deemed it necessary to invite you to come and minister in this year’s conference after browsing through your lovely profile on your website, we are optimistic you will indeed be a center of attraction for the audience to look up to as a role model through your inspirational and emotional speech.
    Confirm to us via e-mail or direct mobile on this letter head if you would be available for these engagement or further questions about event so we can forward to you necessary binding documents. Your Hotel Accommodation, Feeding, and Airfare Ticket will be taken care of by the E.O.C (Event
    Organizing Committee).
    More Info
    AUDIENCE: 1500
    AGE: 18-55
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD’S: ALLOWED.
    SPEAKING TOPIC: BUILDING STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

  10. says

    Jerry — that’s what puzzles everyone else. I guess at some point they were planning to ask for money. They (thankfully) didn’t get that far with you.
    Stay vigilant!

  11. Lawrence Polsky says

    Just happened to me this weekend. Similar email. Thank you for having this write-up here. It seemed strange and your posting confirmed it.

  12. Carl says

    Thanks for the posting of this information, this SCAM is being modified and updated to new churches, new pastors, new topics, and new venues because people are becoming more aware of warnings such as yours.
    I have received the folowing variation this week:
    Victory Outreach Church
    Greenforge Way
    Springvale Ind Estate
    United Kingdom
    NP44 3UZ
    http://www.victorychurch.co.uk/
    Host Pastor:Pastor Richard Taylor
    Email:victoryoutreachchurchoffice@gmail.com
    Tel Phone: + 44 7045750464
    Grace and Peace unto you XXXXX XXXXX,
    We are Pastor Richard Taylor of the victory Outreach Church London
    ,United Kingdom.We are writing to invite you to be our guest speaker
    at this year Divine Restoration and Prayer Conference 2011. After
    reading through your profile on http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.org/. The
    lord has direct us to email you for this assignment.All travel
    arrangements,speaking fee and Hotel accommodation will be taken care
    of as soon as you honor this invitation.
    Venue
    Spurgeon Hall (Inside Church Premises)
    Greenforge Way
    Springvale Ind Estate
    United Kingdom
    NP44 3UZ
    Date :21st of February to 23rd of February 2011
    Topic:The Effect Of Compromising God”s Standard
    We will send you all binding documents including a Letter of
    Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you honor our invitation.
    Email any questions you may have.
    We await your earliest response.
    Remain Blessed
    Pastor Richard Taylor
    Victory Outreach Church
    Greenforge Way
    Springvale Ind Estate
    United Kingdom
    NP44 3UZ
    Followed by:
    Dear XXXXX XXXXXXX,
    Thanks so much for indicating your interest to be our guest speaker at
    this year Divine Restoration and Prayer Conference 2011.We are very excited and happy to have such a wonderful personality in our mist. And i also want to thank you for visiting our website and the possibility of being blessed by my divine message.
    The event organizing committees had a meeting earlier today to deliberate on getting you available here in the United Kingdom. We believe we serve the lord of Possibilities. Arrangements are stated below.
    We have attached a formal Letter of Invitation and contract agreement. Please reconfirm to us your Mailing Address and Cell phone number for our perusal and further action. Note you are meant to arrive a day before the commencement of the event.
    Please return a signed copy of the contract agreement for proper documentation.
    We have agreed to buy you and any assistant you may wish to accompany you here flight tickets and to pay your Hotel accommodation expenses. Also your speaking fee is amounted to 8,500Dollars.$5,250 deposit is to be paid as soon as you procure all relevant travel documents so as to avoid any disappointment. You are informed to get across your UK Entry Clearance to us so your deposit can be approved according to our mandated rules and regulation.
    You are advised by the Event Organizing committee to immediately contact the UK BORDER AGENCY staff to procure your UK Entry Clearance as soon as possible.
    This will enable us to proceed with all arrangements to welcome you here in London due to the new British Rules. Contact the UK Border Agency staff information below for immediate assistance with her personal email address.
    Name: Dr Warren Smith
    Address :29 Brown Street,
    Postcode: W1G 9QR
    Country: London, United Kingdom
    Email: ukbacustomerservices@hotmail.com
    Tel: +442075588029
    Please confirm to us the closest Airport to your location so we can start making arrangements to buy your flight ticket.Understand that you need to expedite action because of the short notice. Feel free to call me on + 44 7045750464
    We await your earliest response
    Be Blessed
    Pastor Richard Taylor
    Of course, when asked questions, “Pastor Richard” is more than happy to answer enough of them in such a vague way that you received a response but not an answer.
    Then, when you communicate with the suggested contact about the “Entry Clearance” you receive another formal sounding response, this one asking for money (more than what the UKBA lists as a fee) for the Clearance Fee as such:
    ATTENTION CLIENT:
    I acknowledge the receipt of your mail and i understood all the content. Without any waste of time and due to short time you have left to proceed with the issuance of these important documents. I will therefore embark upon you obtaining a second tier UK ENTRY CLEARANCE.
    These class of ENTRY CLEARANCE is for employee who falls under the category of religious activities and intends to impact knowledge and technical know-how to the citizens of Great Britain. Pertaining to the urgency and speedy alacrity of these project at hand,i will proceed to the UK BORDER AGENCY to get you all necessary documents
    You are advised to immediately Provide me with the listed requirements.
    1. Letter of Invitation
    2. Full Name Of Applicant
    3. UK Entry Clearance Fee 290pounds ($450)
    4. Full Home And Office Address.
    5. Date of Birth (D.O.B)
    6. Valid Certificate Of Sponsorship (Already Submitted To My Desk By A
    representative Of Victory Outreach Church)
    When you apply you are awarded points based on your:
    * certificate of sponsorship:
    * English language skills; and
    * available maintenance (funds). which is your requested UK CLEARANCE FEE.
    Your Work Papers shall be ready in one week and you will be able to get your work papers prior to the event commencement. And as soon as your passport is ready do not hesitate to forward me necessary information so as to facilitate your Entry Clearance Submission.
    I await the listed information to proceed to get you the documents as soon as
    possible. Note without you providing these requirements I cannot proceed to get
    you these documents. If i receive all information, then i shall
    proceed to the UK Border Agency to get you your documents. Note you
    can send all documents through email attachment.
    You can send Clearance Permit Fee through Money Gram or Western Union to the
    information below.
    Name: Dr Warren Smith,
    Address: LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
    Postcode W1G 9QR.
    After the transaction forward to me the (MTCN) numbers for verification
    Make sure you attach the payment slip for record purpose.
    In your service
    DR Warren Smith
    UK BORDER AGENCY OFFICIAL
    +44 207 558 8029
    The “Binding Documents” sent are informal as follows:
    Victory Church
    Greenforge Way, Springvale Ind.
    Estate, United Kingdom
    NP44 3UZ
    http://www.victorychurch.co.uk/
    Host Pastor: Pastor Richard Taylor
    Email: victoryoutreachchurchoffice@gmail.com
    Tel Phone: + 44 704 575 0464
    LETTER OF INVITATION
    Victory Church officially invites XXXX XXXXX to be our guest speaker at the Divine Restoration and Prayer Conference 2011coming up here in United Kingdom.
    Location Address
    Location:
    Victory Church
    Spurgeon Hall (Inside Church Premises)
    Greenforge Way, Springvale Ind. Estate
    United Kingdom. NP44 3UZ
    Date: 21st of February to 23rd of February 2011
    For: Victory Church
    Name: Pastor Richard Taylor
    Contact Person:
    Date: January 21st 2011
    Signature
    (illegibale signature here)
    and:
    Victory Church
    Greenforge Way, Springvale Ind.
    Estate, United Kingdom
    NP44 3UZ
    http://www.victorychurch.co.uk/
    Host Pastor: Pastor Richard Taylor
    Email: victoryoutreachchurchoffice@gmail.com
    Tel Phone: + 44 704 575 0464
    January 21st, 2011
    CONTRACT AGREEMENT
    This letter of Agreement is made and entered into between XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX(hereinafter referred to as the” Speaker”) of USA and Pastor Richard Taylor (Herein referred to as the “Presenter”) whose organization name is Victory Church, United Kingdom.
    The contact person for matters of this agreement is Pastor Richard Taylor who will act as agent for the presenter.
    ENGAGEMENT: DIVINE RESTORATION AND PRAYER CONFERENCE 2011″
    CONFERENCE THEME: “SHOW THE LIGHT AND THE PEOPLE WILL FIND THE WAY”
    Host: Victory Church
    Contact: Pastor Richard Taylor
    Speaker: XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX
    Function: Divine Restoration and Prayer Conference 2011
    Appearance Date(s): Date: 21st of February to 23rd of February 2011
    Location:
    Victory Church
    Spurgeon Hall (Inside Church Premises)
    Greenforge Way, Springvale Ind. Estate
    United Kingdom. NP44 3UZ
    Audience Size / Demographics: 1500
    Topic: The Effects of Compromising God’s Standard
    Time Table / Duration:
    21st of February 2011 – approximately ____________ 4.00pm – 5.00pm
    22nd of February 2011 – approximately ____________ 5.00pm – 6.00pm
    23rd of February 2011 – approximately ____________11.00am – 12.00pm
    Any additions or revisions to the timetable must be requested and approved in writing.
    OTHER ENTITLEMENT:
    Recommended Attire: Business / Business Casual
    Travel Expense: Presenter will provide business class airfare for XXXXX XXXXXXX.
    UK ENTRY CLEARANCE: to be taken care of by Speaker
    Presenter will provide ground transportation to and from the Heathrow International airport in London for XXXXXX XXXXXXX.
    Hotel: King-size bed, non-smoking room with late arrival guaranteed PLUS meals for XXXXXX XXXXXX.
    Accommodations: London Hilton Hotel for 5nights
    PAYMENT TERMS AND CONDITION:
    Payable to: Speaker
    Fee: 8,500.00 (USD) – plus expenses as outlined above
    Deposit Amount: $ 5,250.00 (USD) Deposit due upon Procurement of UK ENTRY CLEARANCE and other relevant travel documents.
    Balance Amount: $ 3250.00 (USD)
    Fee Notes: Funds will be paid via Certified Bank Cheque upon conclusion of contract.
    PLEASE NOTE: The first part payment of your fee will be issued out to you as soon as you procure your mandatory travel documents.
    This is to ensure readiness on your part. The management does not want to undergo any loss for paying speaker travel documents due to act of insubordination from previous Speaker. The management has hereby laid down strict rules and regulations for Speaker to abide by in order to ensure an uninterrupted cordial preparation for this event. Any speaker who refuses to abide by these principles will forfeit his/her deposit and be terminated from contract.
    IN WITNESS THEREOF the speaker and the Presenter have examined the forgoing provisions and have executed this agreement as of the dates shown below.
    The above conditions are accepted by me:
    Speaker Name: XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX
    Signature: ________________________
    Date: ________________________
    For: Victory Church
    Host: Pastor Richard Taylor
    Date: January 21st, 2011
    Signature
    (again, an illegible signature here)
    The old addage applies here: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

  13. says

    Well, doggone, I thought I was going to Jolly Old England! I just got the same invitation, same phrasing, and from the same not so reverend Pastor Richard Taylor. I smelled a rat when the honorarium I presented, a modest $3,000 plus expenses (I actually prayed over it, as always, God answers!) was ignored but the standard fee and deposit appeared in the next email. Before responding to ask that a deposit be WIRED, not deposited, I googled the name and SCAM. God bless you for posting this. I wouldn’t have provided information outside of what they already have, but I have been known to waste a lot of time over people with less than honorable motives. Let’s remember to pray for these people!

  14. N. Gordon says

    I just got the same letter from Pastor Richard Taylor with the address 121 Harley Road
    Bermondsey, London, SE 16 2Jy

  15. says

    I have now received two such scam email invitations for speaking engagements. The first was from the Brownhill Road Baptist Church in the UK, as someone has already posted, and the second from Grace Baptist Church, Gurney Road, Straford, London, host pastor is Elisa John. Each gave an email address that is a gmail account. On both occasions, I looked up the churches’ websites and they appear to be legitimate. However, with the second one, the pastor’s name is Elisha, not Elisa. On each occasion I also “googled” the conference mentioned. The first was listed as “blah blah prayer conference 2010,” the second is called “Divine Restoration and Prayer Conference 2011.” In both cases neither conference exists. The first listing that comes up for the 2011 conference is this site, about the scam.
    We must all be keenly aware of the possibility of scammers and keep all our identifying information private.

  16. Heather Shaw says

    My father had a show that aired on AIB called “Your Hebrew Roots”. He received an email immediately following the first airing of his show. My father was all excited and was ready to jump on it and began calling all his friends to tell him “the good news”. I, being an attorney, immediately told him that it sounded like a scam and to let me do some research before he did anything. The website in the email was legitimate, but I did notice that the name of the Rev. was spelled wrong, not just in the signature, but also where it tells you who the email was from (right beside the originating email address) so it couldn’t have been a typo. The Rev.’s name in the email was Rev. Garvin Carpenter B.A from the Earlsfield Baptist Church in the UK, but on the website his name is Rev. Gavin Carpenter (notice the “R” is missing). Also, the phone number was different. I emailed the church and am waiting to hear a response but bet it all that it is a scam. Once I took the phone number the email listed and put it into a google search, I was turned onto this blog and others like it. So apparantly they have used this number before +44 702 404 7721. I do not even need to hear back from the church to know this is a scam. From a legal standpoint, everyone should take this as a scam and leave it alone. Never give out your information especially when it is from a place out of the US. There is no way to fight this once the damage is done, and who can afford to fight it with it being so far away? BEWARE!!!!

  17. Karen Leach says

    In Feb this year (2011) my friend received a form letter exactly like the other versions listed here. It was supposedly from what appears to be a real ministry.
    Christ The Rock Ministries
    Salvation Army Bldg, 2nd flr,
    25 Brownhill Rd, SE6 2HE
    London, United Kingdom.
    http://www.ctrm.org/
    Tel Phone: + 44 7024069826
    LONDON GLORY CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE 2011
    Contact the UK Border Agency staff information below for immediate assistance with her personal email address.
    Name: Dr Mary Davison
    Address :29 Brown Street,
    Postcode: W1G 9QR
    Country: London United Kingdom
    Email: Drmarydavison@mail2mary.com
    Tel: +442075588029

  18. says

    I have received two of these speaking scam emails as well in the past 4 months. I love it that people have inserted the text here! Thank you…It’s exactly the same as what I’ve been getting. I’m wondering which speaker sites they’re targetting, or maybe they’re just taking turns with a bunch of them.
    Sad, silly and stupid. If only this effort were put into constructive, edifying work!

  19. says

    Greetings,
    THANK YOU SOOOO VERY MUCH FOR MAKING US AWARE OF THIS UNFORTUNATE SCAM. I TOO RECEIVED THE SAME EMAIL FOR THE DIVINE RESTORATION 2011 CONFERENCE IN MAY. EVEN SPOKE WITH THE SO-CALLED PASTOR. THIS TIME HIS NAME WAS PASTOR WILLIAMS ANDERSON AND WIFE MARIA. I ASKED A SERIES OF QUESTIONS AND THEY WERE VERY VAGUE WITH RESPONSE. THE GREATEST THING WAS GETTING THAT UK WORK PERMIT. THE CHURCH IS LONDON CITY INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CENTER (www.lcicc.co.uk) AND THE UK BORDER AGENCY: DR. REBECCA DIXON (WHOM I NEVER WAS ABLE TO SPEAK WITH). YES THESE PEOPLE DO NEED PRAYER! MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON THEIR SOULS. GOD SAID EVEN THE VERY ELECT WILL BE DECEIVED IN THESE LAST DAYS. THANK YOU FOR SHINING THE LIGHT ON THIS MAJOR ISSUE ON BEHALF OF TRUE BELIEVERS. GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  20. says

    I just today received the scam invitation and it immediately sent up some red flags for me although I wasn’t quite sure. I Googled the church in the UK and the location, etc. It looked legit, but I still felt that something was mighty fishy about it (including the grammar in the invitation). I then saw a link to your website here and have read the other stories, complete with the letters. Mine was about the Victory Praise Adult and Youth conference in the UK. So, thank you everyone for posting here and to the host of this blog/website. We must stick together in prayer! Be vigilant! God bless!

  21. Carrie M says

    Thanks for your postings. I too received this invitation from Richard Taylor (word for word identical to some those above, except for dates and title) and was suspicious, esp when I was asked to send money to someone at the UK border clearance with a Hotmail address. I didn’t know how to confirm my suspicions.

  22. Carrie M says

    According to another site, these emails are coming from Nigeria. You have to marvel at how that one country manages to produce so many internet scams. Do you know that this site comes up first when one googles ‘UK entry clearance for religious speaker’?

  23. Pastor Bill Peters says

    I have received the same scam. It arrived yesterday, but the lead email was the same as the others except for the dates, June 18 to 20, 2011 and the name of the conference “Victory and Praise Youth and Adult Conference 2011″ Thank the Lord for this information posted here before they got more than my name and address.

  24. Jackie C says

    To God be the glory !!! I recently received the exact same invitation from “Pastor” Richard Taylor via our church website for my Pastor to come and speak. I am grateful that this forum exposed this scam.

  25. says

    I received this “invitation” from Richard Taylor as well this week. I too am wondering if the real Richard Taylor is aware of this…youtube his name and he seems to be a legitimate pastor, speaker, author. The church name even seems legit via youtube – Victory Church UK. I did email the church office as well as the office of Victory Outreach UK organization to make them aware. So far, no response. Who knows, maybe it is all trumped up! Thanks for your post. Blessings to you all.

  26. says

    In Response to Cathy above, we are well aware of this scam using our details to attempt to extort money. Just goes to show that we need to do our homework when we recieve such invitations. The location states London, staying at the Heathrow hotel, but if you check out our genuine details, you will see we are in Wales, not England. I also suggest that any contact is made through the website of the organisation, ignoring the email address thats given.
    Blessings
    Allun Davies
    Youth Pastor
    Victory Church
    http://www.victorychurch.org.uk

  27. Candis Best says

    I was just contacted with a similar scam. However, this time they used the name of a real university and an actual professor who was affiliated with that university. Everything else is similar. They use a gmail account, the grammar is questionable and they ask for you to send the work permit fees by Western Union to a personal account and also ask for your bank account to advance your speaking fees.
    My version was similar to those listed above except that the university was Nottingham Trent and the invitation came from a Malcolm Prowle. I contacted the real Malcolm Prowle who informed me that eight other people had also contacted him about this scam.
    It appears that the perpetrators are finding targets on websites that advertise experts so be careful if you have a web presence on those types of membership sites.
    The use of real university professors ads an air of legitimacy so be mindful of that.

  28. Candis Best says

    By the way (in response to Krista) in their email to me they mentioned that they found me on selfgrowth.com.

  29. says

    I, too, received an email via AOL from the aforementioned Victory Church in the UK. The grammar was bad enough to set off red flags immediately. Thankfully, it landed in my spam, which I check before deleting it just in case. So I Googled it and found it to be a scam. Thanks for your diligence to make others aware of this and pray that these people who do these things will put their efforts into something more positive!

  30. says

    OMG. We almost fell for this – me AND my agency!! Upon hearing that I was to wire money to “Moneygram” in ADVANCE of any deposit, red flags went up – and not so much because I thought “scam” but more because I thought it was weird that the UK required such a long, involved work visa for a speaking engagement for a church, so I started by googling THAT and the first result used the term “scam”… it was obvious from there.

  31. Neville says

    When its too good to be true, its too good to be true!
    Scripture warns us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.
    I also received an ‘invitation’ to be a guest speaker in London, and while their were no spelling errors commonly found in these scams I had a check in my spirit and decided to do some investigating. Below is the ‘supposed’ contract:
    _______________________________________________________________________________
    NEW LIFE CHURCH
    Holybourne Avenue,
    London, SW15 4JE
    Phone +442036086176
    http://www.newlifelondon.com/

    February 8th 2013

    CONTRACT AGREEMENT

    This letter of Agreement is made and entered into by Rev. (my name) (hereinafter referred to as the” Speaker”) of USA (Herein referred to as the “Presenter”) Pastor Duncan F. Williams organization whose name is New Life Church London, United Kingdom.
    The contact person for matters of this agreement is Pastor Duncan F. Williams who will act as an agent for the presenter.

    ENGAGEMENT: Reaching the Unreached Conference 2013
    CONFERENCE THEME: “SHOW THE LIGHT AND THE PEOPLE WILL FIND THE WAY”

    Host Church: New Life Church
    Contact: Pastor Duncan F. Williams
    Speaker: Rev. (my name)
    Function: Reaching the Unreached Conference 2013

    Appearance Date(s): 29th of March to 31st of March 2013

    Location: New Life Church
    36 Holybourne Avenue,
    London, United Kingdom
    SW15 4JE

    Audience Size / Demographics: 1150

    TOPIC: GOD OF HOPE

    Time Table / Duration:
    29th of March 2013 – approximately ____________ 12.00pm – 1.00pm
    30th of March 2013 – approximately ____________ 4.00pm – 5.00pm
    31st of March 2013– approximately ____________ 5.00pm – 6.00pm

    Any additions or revisions to the timetable must be requested and approved in writing.
    OTHER ENTITLEMENT:
    Recommended Attire: Business / Business Casual

    Travel Expense: Presenter will provide business class airfare for Speaker
    UK Entry Clearance: to be taken care of by Speaker
    Presenter will provide ground transportation to and from the Heathrow International airport in London upon speaker’s arrival and to and from the venue of conference each day.
    Hotel: King Size bed, non-smoking room with late arrival guaranteed PLUS meals for Speaker and Assistant.
    Accommodations: London Hilton Hotel for 4nights

    PAYMENT TERMS AND CONDITION:
    Payable to: Speaker
    Fee: 7,500.00 (USD) – plus expenses as outlined above
    Deposit Amount: $4,500.00 (USD) Deposit due upon Procurement of UK Entry Clearance and other relevant travel documents.
    Balance Amount: $ 3000.00 (USD)
    Fee Notes: Funds will be paid via Money Gram wire transfer upon conclusion of contract.

    PLEASE NOTE: The first part payment of your fee will be wired to you as soon as you obtain your relevant travel documents and Entry Clearance.

    This is to ensure readiness on your part. The management doesn’t want to undergo any loss for paying speaker travel documents due to act of insubordination from previous Speaker.

    The management has hereby laid down strict rules and regulations for Speaker to abide by in order to ensure an uninterrupted cordial preparation for this event.
    Any speaker who refuses to abide by these principles will forfeit his/her deposit and be terminated from contract.

    IN WITNESS THEREOF the speaker and the Presenter have examined the forgoing provisions and have executed this agreement as of the dates shown below.

    The above conditions are accepted by me
    Speaker Name: Rev. (my name)

    Signature: ________________________
    Date: ________________________

    In his Infinite Mercy
    Pastor Duncan F. Williams
    New Life Church
    Signature:
    Duncan F.Williams

  32. OnlyinRhodeIsland says

    My husband received an IDENTICAL “contract” this week except it was from a Pastor Vincent Ong of Hope Church instead of Pastor Duncan F. Williams of New Life Church.

  33. says

    People with public speaking ministries and churches and pastors are being scammed. Our church has been targeted.The scammers use genuine churches without their knowledge and invent fictitious conferences to invite genuine guest speakers too. They phone posing as the pastors of that church and even make genuine hotel bookings. They seem to be using churches and their pastors in the UK and SA and targeting speakers mainly from Canada and the USA and some UK speakers. We are NOT hosting a conference at our church called the Hope Payer Conference in Nov 2013 and we are NOT inviting 1500 congregations to attend although we welcome visitors. Please alert anyone with a public speaking ministry. USA and Canadians too can report scams or identity theft at actionfraud which is a site run by UK police. http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

  34. says

    Dose this look & read familiar!!!
    Thank You Lord for this site … we felt in our Spirits it was a scam … We didn’t get so far as anyone asking for money! But we were sure that would have been the next step!
    Our good friends were scammed last year out of $20,000 on a time share scam! We are so grateful that you all have exposed this scam . Yep there still at it!

    Timestamp: 2013-11-02 13:01:35
    Web Site: http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.org
    Form: Contact Form
    Submission: 165

    First Name: Eric
    Last Name: Whittaker
    Email Address: Jubileelifechurchoffice@gmail.com
    Telephone Number:
    City: London
    State:
    Country: United States
    Best Time To Call: PM
    Comments: Jubilee Church Life Centre
    1-5 London Road
    Grantham
    Lincolnshire
    NG31 6EY
    United Kingdom
    Phone+447432463479
    http://www.jubileegrantham.co.uk

    Grace and Peace be unto you R
    Richard G. Xxxx

    We are Pastors Eric and Pat Whittaker of Jubilee Church Life Centre
    London, United Kingdom. We are writing to invite you to be our guest speaker at this year
    GOD OF HOPE PRAYER CONFERENCE 2013.This is a great Kingdom connection that
    gets us excited the way the lord connects his people all over the world through internet.

    After reading through your profile on http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe lord has direct us to
    email you for this assignment .All travel arrangements, speaking fee and Hotel
    accommodation will be taken care of as soon as you honor this invitation.

    Venue
    Jubilee Church Life Centre Hall
    1-5 London Road
    Grantham
    Lincolnshire
    NG31 6EY
    United Kingdom
    Date of Conference: 13th December to 15th of December 2013
    Topic: God of Hope

    You will receive a formal Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you
    honor our invitation .Kindly provide us your cell phone number and mailing address.
    Email any questions you may have. Please feel free to visit our website on

    http://www.jubileegrantham.co.uk. More update on this year conference is coming soon

    Remain Blessed
    Pastor Eric Whittaker
    +447432463479

    HTTP USER AGENT:
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/9.0.597.16 Safari/534.13

  35. Joel says

    Jubilee Church Life Centre
    1-5 London Road
    Grantham
    Lincolnshire
    NG31 6EY
    United Kingdom
    Phone +447031922581
    http://www.jubileegrantham.co.uk

    Grace and Peace be unto you Joel and Maria Savage ,

    We are Pastors Eric and Pat Whittaker of Jubilee Church Life Centre
    London, United Kingdom. We are writing to invite you to be our guest speaker at this year
    GOD OF HOPE PRAYER CONFERENCE 2014.This is a great Kingdom connection that
    gets us excited the way the lord connects his people all over the world through internet.

    After reading through your profile on http://www.savageministries.com/. The lord has direct us to
    email you for this assignment .All travel arrangements, speaking fee and Hotel
    accommodation will be taken care of as soon as you honor this invitation.

    Venue
    Jubilee Church Life Centre Hall
    1-5 London Road
    Grantham
    Lincolnshire
    NG31 6EY
    United Kingdom
    Date of Conference :21st February to 23rd of February 2014
    Topic: God of Hope

    You will receive a formal Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you
    honor our invitation .Kindly provide us your cell phone number and mailing address.
    Email any questions you may have. Please feel free to visit our website on

    http://www.jubileegrantham.co.uk. More update on this year conference is coming soon

    Remain Blessed
    Pastor Eric Whittaker
    +447031922581

  36. me 2 says

    just happened to me 2…got this email a few days ago….thanks so much for this post that made it dry clear what this was. BOOOO to whomever thinks this stuff up.

    here i a copy of the initial email:

    Message from your website:

    From: Pastor Gordon Lyon
    Email: pastorgordonnewlifeministry@gmail.com
    Phone: +44 702 407 6559
    Message: New Life Christian Centre
    10 – 18 Hope Street
    Hamilton
    Scotland
    ML3 6AF
    WEBSITE:http://www.newlifeministry.co.uk//
    EMAIL:pastorgordonnewlifeministry@gmail.com
    TELEPHONE: +44 702 407 6559

    REQUEST FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Beloved Pastor,

    We are Pastor Gordon Lyon from the aforementioned organization,we write
    you to seek your engagement in Our Upcoming conference tagged
    “ULTIMATE GRACE ADULT AND YOUTH CONFERENCE 2014″ coming up here in
    United Kingdom.from 19th-21st of February 2014.

    New Life Christian Centre
    10 – 18 Hope Street
    Hamilton
    Scotland
    ML3 6AF

    THEME:I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

    TOPIC:HE WILL REMAIN THE GOD OF ALL NATION

    We choose you for this engagement because you have the real insight and
    intuitiveness of delivering a piercing speech after digesting your profile
    on to the audience through the
    inspirational,motivational word of yours.

    All travel expenses,Hotel accommodation,Airfare ticket and meals shall be
    taken care of as soon as you honor Our invitation.

    Kindly get back to us on this letter head if you will be available for this
    event via email(pastorgordonnewlifeministry@gmail.com).We will be
    ready to answer all
    your questions.

    We look forward to meeting you soon.

    STAY BLESSED
    PASTOR GORDON LYON
    +44 702 407 6559

    IP Address: 41.204.224.12

  37. says

    I’m very grateful for this site. I received a letter claiming to be from “Reverend David Wilson” of the Hamilton Baptist Church in Scotland asking me to speak. This scammer had done his/her homework as they knew the topics I spoke on and tailored the letter to those. Much of the language was exactly the same as others describe in their posts. I did email the church to let them know their name was being used. They responded promptly and thanked me for letting them know.

    Same tip offs. Language a bit off. Pretty overboard on the “God led us to contact you….blah, blah, language. Email came from a gmail account and outlook express rather than from a church email. For me the kicker was the work visa pitch. I’ve done international conferences and never been asked for that before. Again, thanks for helping me prevent a problem!

    • Nick Morgan says

      Glad we could help, Kay. I continue to be amazed at the longevity of this scam. I’m afraid it must work well enough for the scammers to keep trying. So good for you for spotting the danger signs.

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