Scam Alert : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

General Secretary Fugh's warning on the AME-Today Home Page regarding the national scam targeting AME's does not do justice to the sophistication of this operation. I received a call earlier in the week from a Reverend White, Pastor of Allen Temple AME Church in Atlanta. He took considerable time to tell me of a member who was relocating to Moreno Valley, CA in the next week. He gave me detailed information about this member, her job history (She was being promoted by HUD thus her relocation), her family and her work in ministry to the local congregation. By the time he was finished I was drooling in anticipation of adding such a dedicated and committed AME to our membership. "Pastor White" was also extremely knowlegeable about the AME Church, the politics and the players including bishops. He knewfor instance, of Bishop Mings illness, and spoke of it to me. He even offered me an opportunity to come to Atlanta to preach for him. He told me I was getting a wonderful member and asked that I look out for her and take good care of her. I assured him that I would as I would have for any Pastor in the connection. I did not call back to check on his authenticity. I had no reason to doubut he was who he said he was. He had not asked anything of me except for me to be a good pastor to a loyal member of the Church.

The hook of course came tody in phone call from the "member" who was now stranded in Barstow, CA with a broken down car. That was , in itself quite believeable because Barstow is the end of the world (or at least you can see it from there) in the middle of the Desert. The details of the scam are not all that important, sufice to say that with the expert "set-up" I had received from "Pastor White",I came embarassingly close to wiring $535 to the mechanic (who I spoke to at great length) thinking that I was being true to my word to a fellow Pastor and helping a member of our connection who was in distress (after all, is that not one of the purposes of the "connection"?) Now before you think me a total fool, "pastor White" had told me that this "member" was carrying a large check from her Credit Union Account in Atlanta that she had closed out. He asked my help in assisting in finding a reliable Credit Union here that she could open an account with. In my discussion with this member, she assured me that she would repay the Church as sood as she arrived in Moreno Valley. The call came at 3:00 California Time Friday afternoon, well after business hours in Atlanta. Fortunately for me a wonderful Secretary was still at Allen Temple preparing the program for Sunday Morning. She told me that this same scam had been run a number of times in recent weeks targeting small AME Churches all accross the Country. Some of the Churches, trying to do the Christ Like thing had wired money, of course never to see it again. Several othders were fortunate enough like myself to have made a call to verify first. Believe me when I tell you all THAT I ALMOST DIDN'T. These folk were that smooth. I would be happy to share more detailed information with anyone who desires it via E=Mail. In the meantime, Pastors, please beware!

In the Joy of Jesus, Pastor Mike Barta

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001


Wow! That is a slick trick. I can imagine how many pastors across the country falling for that. Thanks for the warning.

That points out the need for a dedicated (read that paid for), leased web server for the denomination with 24/7 maintenance to keep the church informed. The only web site the denomination has is one that is created by an unpaid volunteer. This man is generous to volunteer, but is not able to keep it updated nor does he have access to Official material.


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2001

Reverend Barta,

That's a scary story. Why don't you submit it to Pastor John as an article or update to General Secretary Fugh's article to be placed on the front page of the A.M.E. Today News? Everyone may not read the Discussion Board.

With eyes wide open, Reverend Sheron Stocker

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2001

in response to the scamming of the church, i may have written a small note prior to this one, but we are off of hwy 90 on the coast of miss at the louisiana line. one morning a family stopped by for sunday school and said that they were on their way to tx, coming from a florida vacation. one of the kids got sick and they had to put the child in the hospital, and for the extra three days the kid was in the hospital, they used up all of their money. bottom line, they had been stopping at all of the small churches along hwy 90 for about 50 miles all across the state of ms. they hit baptist churches and a m e churches. they too was familiar with the big names of the connection, bishop bryant and some of the larger churches in the texas area. we heard that they received well over 500.00 from small churches. our church gave 150.00. which was a big chunk for a small sunday school with an average of 10 to 20 attendees per sunday. needless to say, when i read the secretary,s message, i informed the s s that if it happened again we would give a food stipend and a limited gas allowance and not more than 20.00 to 25.00 for incidentals. we are reminded in scripture to be as wise as serpants and as gentle as doves. may god bind us together that we will be so stong until one won't fall w/o the other!

-- Anonymous, July 31, 2001

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