Saint Paul’s Church, Jarrow, UK Speaking Scam (I Was Almost a Victim)

I speak and train for a living.

In fact, I call myself a motivational teacher (hat tip to John C. Maxwell for that clever term). If an organization wants to hire me to speak, my personal assistant gathers all the details, sends them our speaker contract, gets their signatures, the deposit is made into my account, then we know it is all legit.

So when she received the following email from a one Bishop Mark Jarrow from St. Paul`s church, my personal assistant had little to suspect that anything was amiss. She did do a quick Google search and found out that the Bishop and the church are real.

Here’s the email…

Name: Mark Jarrow
Email: bishopjarrow@gmail.com

Blessings to you from Jarrow, Leesa, I am Bishop Mark Jarrow, presiding Minister of the Saint Paul’s Church, Jarrow, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you for a speaking event here in Jarrow at the Church conference coming up on the 17th, 18th & 19th of February 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.

Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule.
Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details. Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

Remain Blessed.


Bishop Mark Jarrow
+44 7031873786

http://www.stpaulschurchjarrow.com/
St Paul’s Church,
Jarrow,
Tyne & Wear,
NE32 5QJ
United Kingdom.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

Given that I’m a woman of faith and I love speaking in front of groups where I can add principles from the Bible and not have people squirm, I was even more eager to visit St. Paul’s and speak to the Bishop’s conference.

The Bishop then introduced us over email to the Chair of the Organizing Committee, one Mr. Edward Smith. Edward would be responsible for getting my flight booked and for getting the contract signed. He sent over the contract, I signed it and my personal assistant sent the scanned pages to Edward Smith.

And that’s when things got a little weird.

Edward Smith said that I needed a UK work permit in order to speak at their event and that I needed to pay for it. He advised that I apply for the permit through his contact at the UK Border Services, a one Tambara Burks, as she could expedite the work permit.

I would need to send her £433 (equivalent to $670 CDN) and Tambara Burks would get me the permit within 2-3 business days (as opposed to 15-days as stated on the UK Consulate website for a fee of £190). All Tambara needed was my birthdate and passport number – which were provided to her by my personal assistant.

This isn’t my first international speaking gig. However, both my personal assistant and I were a bit miffed that not only did I have to incur a cost to get the work permit, but I also had to pay almost $300 more to get this Tambara to do it for me, rather than do it myself.

My virtual assistant’s radar was already going wild. In fact, it buzzing so loudly, she couldn’t sleep.

She blogged about her suspicions (with my blessing). She was a bit wary of how the English language was being used in the emails. It was choppy, full of spelling errors and just didn’t seem right. While waiting for a reply from Tambara on the best way to send the £433, my personal assistant started to do a more in-depth research.

  • She dug around St. Paul’s website and saw no mention of the upcoming conference on their website
  • She sent an email to the church to confirm that the conference was still taking place

That’s when the personal assistant to the real Bishop of Jarrow replied stating…

“I have been dealing with all these scam emails which have been involving the Bishop of Jarrow and the parish of St Paul’s in Jarrow. There is no such person as Edward Smith and there is no such conference. The police [in the UK] are aware of these scams [and] you will need to report it to your local police, as it would seem that the people who are sending these emails are probably Nigerian.”

I’m one not to judge people based on country of origin, gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, etc., etc., etc., so I wanted to disprove that this was yet another Nigerian scam. So, I went to the original emails and expanded the headers. In them, I found the IP addresses and did a lookup on each one in Google. The IP addresses of the computers that the fake Bishop of Jarrow, the fake Edward Smith and Tambara Burks used all originate in the country of Nigeria.

Here are the IPs…

  • 41.220.69.71 (the IP from the Bishop’s emails)
  • 41.206.11.30 (the IP from Edward’s emails)
  • 41.206.11.36 (the IP from Tambara’s emails)

And of course, we started to spot what we should’ve from the start:

  • The invitation letter and contract were not sent on official letterhead. I don’t know what the official letterhead of St Paul’s church would look, but I’m guessing it’s not like the ones that were sent to us by email.
  • Bishop Mark Jarrow used a gmail email address – bishopjarrow@gmail.com
  • Edward Smith used a hotmail email address – stpaulchurchjarrow@hotmail.com
  • Tambara Burks used a workmail email address – tambaraburks.ukba@workmail.com
  • The language used in the emails, although in English, was just weird. For example, when Edward Smith asked what date I wanted to leave Toronto, he said “please send us the departure airport that would best soothe Mrs. Barnes.” Frankly, I don’t need to be soothed and I’m not married.
  • All 3 had explanations for EVERYTHING. When we proposed that they pay the work permit out of the speaking fee and just send the balance by bank transfer, Edward Smith said that they won’t have the money from the sponsor until I’m approved for the work permit and they don’t have any money at the church because they donate the excess from their annual conference to charity.
  • And their webmaster is working on the website for the conference (which is now 2-weeks away from the day they wanted me to speak)

We now have a request from Tambara to Western Union the work permit fee to a UK address (which we will not). We forwarded that address to the personal assistant at St. Paul’s church who is forwarding it to the UK police.

This scam targets speakers and business people. The scammers often use real names of people associated with real religious or educational institutions. Back in 2009 when this scam targeted Colleen Francis, the man’s name was William Smith and he was inviting her to speak on behalf of the Holy Apostles Church in London for a youth conference.

If you got mixed up in this sort of scam, let me be the first to tell you…

There’s Nothing to Feel Embarrassed AboutYou are not a victim. You are an overcomer.

Event the brightest, smartest people on this planet get hoodwinked by con artists. This is the first time I fell for an online scam in the almost 20-years since I’ve been surfing the web. I usually tell people what scams to avoid and here I am almost a victim of one. I just thank God in heaven that my personal assistant was distrustful enough to do some more digging. She saved me almost $700 CDN.

Now that the criminals have my passport number, signature, birthdate and name, I had to do a pre-emptive strike to make sure that IF they plan to use my identity, I’m protected.

Whether you’ve parted with your money or not, you need to protect yourself. If you’re a Canadian citizen, here’s what you need to do…

  1. Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. They’ll classify it as a job scam and will collect details on the scam, then give you a file number. Don’t call the RCMP as they’ll just direct you to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  2. Report it to your local police. Because it’s a Nigerian scam, some police officers will wave it off, especially if no money changed hands. However, be insistent on filing a report and getting a file number. Then, ask for a copy of the report for your own records. Most likely, the police will not start an investigation, but will keep your report on file.
  3. Contact your bank and credit card companies. Closing your accounts and reopening new ones may not help unless you gave the scammer your numbers. If you did not, just ask your bank and credit card companies to add an extra layer of security, such as a security question/answer that only you would know.
  4. Contact your credit bureau. The 2 in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion. Let them know that your identity has been compromised (if you gave personal details online) or that you’ve been a victim of an online fraud (if you sent money). They will add a flag to your file so that any time someone makes a query to your credit report, you’ll get a phone call asking if you approve it or not. This flag will be on your file for a period of 6-7 years (depending on the credit bureau). Depending on the bureau, you may need to pay for this service, so just enquire.

Here are some other resources you’ll find most interesting…

If you have resources for other countries or have your own story to tell, please leave it in the comments area below. I will not judge you and those in my tribe are quite supportive as well. Remember – don’t be embarrassed, protect yourself and don’t view yourself as a victim.

Update (Jan 30, 2012): It appears that sending $600 USD for the work permit is not enough. According to a commenter below, the scammers then ask you to pay for a $1,000-$1,500 security bond which will be returned once you arrive at the location of the conference. They also send an email with a hotel reservation, which on closer examination, is for a hotel that’s about a day’s drive away from the location of the church in England.

Another thing…the church in Scotland is real and so too is Bishop Mark of Jarrow. My personal assistant is working with the personal assistant of the Bishop who is forwarding all our emails to UK law enforcement. St. Paul’s in Scotland is as much a victim in this.

Update #2 (Jan 30, 2012): Here’s the deal – when applying for a temporary work permit, you need to physically go to the nearest consulate of the country you plan to work in. Fortunately, because I live in Toronto, every country has a consulate here in this city. You pay a fee, submit the invitation letter from the entity planning to hire you and you surrender your passport to the consulate. After the invitation letter is reviewed, a stamp is then placed in your passport. That’s the work permit folks. Someone overseas in the country you plan to work in can’t do this for you.

Updates #3 (Jan 30, 2012): There are 2 websites for St. Paul’s – one is www.jarrowparish.info and the other that the scammers are using in their emails is www.stpaulschurchjarrow.com. The interesting thing is that on the latter website, it has a warning about the conference scam. Not sure which one is the church’s official website…

Update #4 (Jan 30, 2012): The scammers have found this blog post. Here’s the reply from the fake Bishop Mark Jarrow (I didn’t edit)…

“We just came across a post online right now dated 26th January where Leesa Barnes 9I am sure with your knowledge) She was outlining blackmailing the Church and claiming she almost fell for a scam while you indeed are still in contact with us! Are we wrong in asking her to feature in this event? Why would she go around writing such gruesome things about the Church? I will pray for forgiveness for you both!”

Update #5 (Feb 1, 2012): According to some commenters below, the fake Big Things: How to Start Small conference has now moved to March 27, 28 & 29, 2012 and the Bishop’s name has changed to David Joseph Jarrow. Please note that the real St. Paul’s church has no such conference – even though the name of the Bishop is real. And if you go to the URL contained in the fake Bishop’s email, when you mouse over The Jarrow Lecture in the right side bar, you’ll see Conference Scam pop up. The church is aware that their name is being used fraudulently in this scam and are reporting this to the UK law enforcement to try to stop these people. We’ve been in contact with the Personal Assistant to the real Bishop and she’s been forwarding our emails.

Update #6 (March 2, 2012): It’s National Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and I offered 5 tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam based on my experience.

Update #7 (March 5, 2012): Here’s what my sister posted on her Facebook status just this morning:

If others learn from our mistakes,
And it saves them from the pain
That we ourselves experienced —
Then it wasn’t all in vain.

Update #8 (March 6, 2012): One of the commenters below shared an email exchange he had with one of the scammers. I created a new blog post exploring whether or not we should be so judgemental of someone’s actions when we don’t know what in their past experience causes them to act the way they do. Read the reason why one Nigerian scammer scams people.

Update #9 (July 23, 2012): My friend, Felicia Slattery, blogged about one of her clients who was almost the victim of a speaking scam originating out of Malaysia. They want you to fly out to their country, pay your own airfare and other expenses, then they’ll pay you AFTER the event is over. Any event planner worth their salt will pay 50% of your speaking fee up front with the remainder paid once you get to the location AND BEFORE you get on stage.

Update #10 (January 21, 2013): A year later and this scam continues. Sadly, it means it’s working. I do want to thank all those who continue to post comments below with details on how the scam changes. It appears that the name of the conference stays the same, but the organizers and the location are different. Just note – this is a scam and the only way to stop it is to NOT send money.

Update #11 (January 31, 2013): According to a commenter below, the conference name has changed to Surpassing Your Limits: Attaining the Unattainable.

Update #12 (February 7, 2014): Some commenters have been posting the updated version of the invitation letter. Take note of the conference name and the name of the event host.

  • http://twitter.com/laurenamcmullen Lauren McMullen

    Wow Leesa. thanks for sharing this info. If someone as smart as you could come close to getting scammed anyone could. I will pass the info along to my contacts because they can not be the only group trying to do this. What is scary is that they had done their homework so well and knew just how to appeal to you.

    • Leesa Barnes

      You hit it on the head, Lauren. That’s what makes this scam so scary. The invitation pinpointed my primary occupation (speaking) and who I love speaking in front of (Christian groups). So, yes, they did their homework and were almost successful in getting money from me. My goal in detailing my experience is to ensure that others don’t fall into this trap.

      • http://www.deborahevans.org Deborah

        Thank you so much for sharing this information. I too have almost been a victim of such scams through the years. You are so right about the grammar and the things that don’t seem to make since. I have received such emails inviting me to Pakistan, certains parts of Africa and so on. Although, I certainly do desire to travel abroad and speak, I don’t want to get there by such means of scams. Thanks again for sharing your story and the tools to help us be alert.

  • http://www.mariagamb.com/ Maria

    Leesa – Great article and thank you for sharing this so others can be aware. It’s a shame people behave as such. I had a similar situation occur with a speaking opportunity in Italy. All my flags went up and we ended all communications with the organization.

    • Leesa Barnes

      Eek! Glad you caught it in time. What was the trigger for you with the Italian situation? For me, it was when they asked me to pay for the work permit. They NEVER mentioned that this would be my expense in any of our correspondences and all of a sudden, that bombshell was dropped in my lap.

  • Kurek Ashley

    Leesa,
    I wish I would have found your site a couple of days sooner. I did send Tambara my passport info and the fee for the permit. Once they asked for more money for the bond, I got suspicious and did a internet search and found your page. With all of the conferences i do all over the world in 17 countries, I was just being efficient and getting things handled quickly. And that’s what they are counting on. They put the workshop date very close so that it creates a sense of urgency. And because they send through the official looking agreement. It all looks on the up and up. Yet, it’s not.

    Oh well, a quite valuable lesson learned, for luckily wasn’t all that much cost. It could have been a lot worse. Now i have to get my personal information changed to protect myself there.

    Once again, thank you for your post and information.

    All the best
    Kurek Ashley

    • Leesa Barnes

      So sorry to hear that you did send money, Kurek and I’m appaulded to hear they’re asking for more. Would you mind sharing the next step in their demented process? What’s their excuse for asking you for more money?

      And don’t feel badly about getting duped. Anyone who does business understands the need to expedite decisions, especially when being asked to speak at the last minute. I applaud you for your courage in sharing your experience here.

      • Bayotraining

        To everyone who read this email thread…. (READ the scammers response below)

        Let this be an example of what is possible via our interconnected global online economy, when we speak direct to the root cause of foul play, instead of pointing fingers at all “those Nigerian scammers out there” start realizing that they are a part of our world just like you and me, there’s no where you can run or hide, no where they can run or hide, if we ignore problems they come back and bite us one way or another…whether it manifests in an email, a kidnapping, a bomb, a murder… our world is filled with inequalities and danger…but now we all have to face each other and tell the truth, that we can all fix it if we start trying to understand and appreciate the human needs of why people do the unbelievable things they do. We can’t just sit around hoping problems don’t pop up, the least we can do is uncover the truth…. start communicating and helping your fellow human beings to intelligently think their way out of their problems instead of throwing money at them or religion. You might be surprised what you find to be the real “root of all the problems,” it could be your next door neighbor, and the solution could be right inside your own mind, decisions, and actions. Read this book! http://www.abundancethebook.com

        Bayo

        ———- Forwarded message ———-
        From: Rev. Jimmy King
        Date: Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 8:49 AM
        Subject: Re: Ha ha… My own Nigerian People Trying to Use Christian Religion to Scam me LOL … Fwd: You Are Invited To Speak At Our Church Event Bayo Olorounto
        To: Training With Bayo

        Am so sorry mr. Bayo. I never knew you are a Nigerian but you can’t understand what people are going through here. Forgive me for that and meanwhile if I tell you my story you would understand why am into this.

        I was not suppose to reply back to you email since you knew about what I was doing but your speech really touched me but I have a question for you.

        Do you think the people carrying guns are doing it with their wish? Nope many people are suffering in these country due to the selfiness of our leaders with all the resources we aquired I just want you to understand one thing that I will never hurt my fellow Nigerians but if I had the chance to penetrate to eliminate all our corrupted leaders I would have loved to do that.

        I am writing you these email with tears on my eyes but how I wish you understand why am doing this. In regards to the IP you are talking about, am using another persons ip just to hide my ass but if you want to confirm that you can track my next email and see the ip. I can never use my own ip to send email when I know am dealing with a fraudlent activities.

        If you understand what your email mean to me, I am crying when replying to your email and to tell you this that I regret been in this country.

        Thank you for your advice.

        Ola
        Guess what Reverend Jimmy King….

        It turns out your inquiry for me to speak at the Alloa Scottish church seemed strange when you as a “so called” reverend emailed me back tonight, with bad grammar, without responding properly to my questions and offering me $19,500 to speak. I didn’t send you any fees, or any of my personal information, just a questionnaire, so when you came back with “You found out about me through “some lady” who spoke at your church then came to the USA, then $19,500 for the fee… I sent back my agreement to pay me 50% up front to see what your next move would be… then I started doing my research, turns out there’s no events in Alloa on April 27, 28, 29th, turns out there is a YMF fund in Scotland pouring millions of dollars into youth art…which you knew would be good for my “surface research” google check, but what you don’t understand is that you are attempting to get money the wrong way, and you underestimated who you are dealing with…. You picked the wrong person to try to scam. Do you know how fast we in the U.S are tracking your IP Addresses?
        Here is your IP Address:

        Received: from mr.google.com ([10.152.145.137])
        by 10.152.145.137 with SMTP id su9mr16464122lab.23.1330904602604 (num_hops = 1);
        Sun, 04 Mar 2012 15:43:22 -0800 (PST)

        Looks like you have it masked… so we don’t know what country it’s coming from… That’s o.k. we will find you in 48 hours., do you realize how advanced technology is now…. I encourage you to read this book: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think http://www.abundancethebook.com Although Nigeria has the problems that it has you have a responsibility to use your mind in the correct way, look in your environment and try to help your own people, instead your are just as greedy as the Christian Evangelists and Politicians who initiated your ignorance. You will win a few dollars here and there with these scams. However you will always lose when dealing with someone like me.

        Use your mind for something constructive, work together for the betterment of humanity, we all face suffering, but it’s the meaning of what you decide suffering is about that makes you a real man instead of a faceless coward trying to scam through email.

        What’s sad is that I here the cries of my own family from Lagos and Nigeria, and in fact I have copied them too on this email because they want me to help them, they tell me I am not helping them, they wonder where am I, their brother in America….well here I am wasting my time, defending my livelihood from scams of my own people in Nigeria, how ironic. The whole world should realize what’s happening with all this, the way Oil, and resources were Stolen from Nigeria, and the people left with poverty and a Bible…and a hope…. and all the corruption, Muslim/Christian fighting….. they always want to know why we who are in the U.S. don’t send more money, more money, the problem is because everyone in Nigeria thinks this is all about money, because the corrupt politicians have trained you to believe it, Don’t follow them, follow your heart. This is not about money, it’s about you using your mind resourcefully or not. Why would anyone give money to a person who does not account or respect himself, to a man with no character, no plan, no idea, no loyalty. The man gives you money and you turn around and run somewhere and never build a business??? Where is there trust and integrity among men in Africa? And you wonder why? I fight everyday to find ways to help my people, but rest assured if the swords have to swing to eliminate false liars, cowards, and petty thieves to redeem the real spirit of Africa it will….the “cheetah generation” is coming to get you…. if you have no honor… tell your brothers in Nigeria, a new day has come, and unless you seek the truth from someone with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding you will suffer in poverty, and despair!

        Yours Truly,

        King Adebayo Alabi Olorunto of Benin

        ———————————

        I found Leesa Barne’s website… “I have been dealing with all these scam emails which have been involving the Bishop of Jarrow and the parish of St Paul’s in Jarrow. There is no such person as Edward Smith and there is no such conference. The police [in the UK] are aware of these scams [and] you will need to report it to your local police, as it would seem that the people who are sending these emails are probably Nigerian.”

        I’m one not to judge people based on country of origin, gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, etc., etc., etc., so I wanted to disprove that this was yet another Nigerian scam. So, I went to the original emails and expanded the headers. In them, I found the IP addresses and did a lookup on each one in Google. The IP addresses of the computers that the fake Bishop of Jarrow, the fake Edward Smith and Tambara Burks used all originate in the country of Nigeria.

        Here are the IPs…

        41.220.69.71 (the IP from the Bishop’s emails)
        41.206.11.30 (the IP from Edward’s emails)
        41.206.11.36 (the IP from Tambara’s emails)

        http://leesabarnes.com/blog/saint-pauls-church-jarrow-uk-speaking-scam-i-was-almost-a-victim/

    • http://www.facebook.com/felicia.slattery Felicia Slattery

      Oh Kurek… I’m so sorry they got you to send money. Obviously they have found a way to scam even the smartest and most successful folks.

  • Kurek Ashley

    Leesa
    This is what they send you next trying to get more out of you. By this point I had already figured them out and never sent it. Yet you’ll see that i will post it twice and the price of what they say is the cost changes. They can’t even keep it straight between the 3 scammers. (Mark jarrow, Edward Smith and Tambara burkes)
    Good Afternoon Deacon Edward, At the start of work today, I must tell you that I am done with Mr. Ashley’s work permit, But it cant be issued out as at yet because it was brought to my notice by the issuing dept. that non-British citizens coming to work in the United Kingdom starting from December 2011 as been required by the home office to pay a refundable sum of 1,000GBP as a ‘Bond’ to enact their stay. As soon as they get back to their countries, the fee will be remitted back to them in full.
    It is the new Home office’s rule that it be so for working immigrants applying for the work permit. I am emailing you now so you can find a way to forward to me the funds so I can forward them to the home office and send you the ‘bond holding letter’

    Warren Germain already sent me the funds for the bond, He will get his documents today, I have forwarded to him the fedex tracking number so he could monitor as well, Did he tell you this?

    Please Deacon, send the funds to me on Mr. Ashley’s behalf as he might be relunctant to send such amount of money, So I need you to forward the funds on his behalf, Once they he is back in the Australia the bond will be liquidated and you will have the funds back.

    PLEASE REPLY SOONEST !!!


    Tambara Burks.
    United Kingdom Border Agency.
    N.A.

    tambaraburks.ukba@workmail.com
    845-784-0199 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 845-784-0199 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

    SECOND EMAIL

    Good Afternoon Deacon Edward, At the start of work today, I must tell you that I am done with Mr. Ashley’s work permit, But it cant be issued out as at yet because it was brought to my notice by the issuing dept. that non-British citizens coming to work in the United Kingdom starting from December 2011 as been required by the home office to pay a refundable sum of 1,400GBP as a ‘Bond’ to enact their stay. As soon as they get back to their countries, the fee will be remitted back to them in full.
    It is the new Home office’s rule that it be so for working immigrants applying for the work permit. I am emailing you now so you can find a way to forward to me the funds so I can forward them to the home office and send you the ‘bond holding letter’

    Warren Germain already sent me the funds for the bond, He will get his documents today, I have forwarded to him the fedex tracking number so he could monitor as well, Did he tell you this?

    Please Deacon, send the funds to me on Mr. Ashley’s behalf as he might be relunctant to send such amount of money, So I need you to forward the funds on his behalf, Once they he is back in the Australia the bond will be liquidated and you will have the funds back.

    PLEASE REPLY SOONEST !!!


    Tambara Burks.
    United Kingdom Border Agency.
    N.A.

    tambaraburks.ukba@workmail.com
    845-784-0199

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Wow! Thanks for sharing the email of what happens after you send the $600. They want more money. I experienced the same thing as you where they forget what they ask for and then resend emails with wrong information in it. As Judge Judy says “When you tell the truth, you don’t have to have a good memory.” Because Tambara, Edward Smith and the fake Bishop are running a dishonest, crooked scheme meant to deceive hard working people from their hard earned money, they just can’t keep their stories straight. I’m glad you were able to stop them in their tracks before parting with anymore money.

  • Kurek Ashley

    These guys go as far as booking fake accommodation for you, yet it’s in Edward Smiths name. i have to hand it to them, their set up for the scam is good and very professional.

    • Leesa Barnes

      I got the same email. When I checked the location of the hotel, it’s in northern England, even though the church is located in Scotland. According to the map, it’d be a 10-hour drive from the hotel to Edinburgh. Only scammers would do this…

  • Lauren Hug

    Wow, Leesa! I’m so glad you posted this. 1) Because scams that are clever enough to suck in smart business people are über scary. 2) Because this post found its way into my twitter feed (via retweet), and I am now aware of and able to peruse your valuable insights. So glad you aren’t out any money!

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Excellent! I’m glad I could help you remain alert. As someone said on Twitter after reading this blog post, some don’t say anything because they’re embarrassed, especially if they were suckered into this scam.

      But if I see myself as a victim, then yes, I’ll hide and hope it goes away. And that’s just it – I don’t view myself as a victim. That’s why I need people to know about this scam and the way they operate. Smart business people are getting hoodwinked by this scam and we need to know what it smells like so we avoid it at all costs. The reason why the scammers keep doing it is because the scam works. My goal is to at least put a dent in their efforts…

  • Dr. Jennifer

    I’m glad that you figured it out! That happened to me a couple of years ago and I also didn’t get scammed. New kind of awareness is required in this world of internet connections. It’s sometimes complicated to do the due diligence that is necessary.
    Thanks for posting this …

    Take care…

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      It appears that these scammers change the name of the organization and the conference every few months. In a blog post I found from 2009, they used the name William Smith, the church was based in London and it was for a youth conference.

  • http://twitter.com/christinahills Christina Hills

    Leesa,
    Thank you so much for posting this!
    I too was almost a victim of an affiliate scam that originated in China.

    This was a few years ago, but I never blogged about it.

    So glad you caught this in time!

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      I hope you didn’t lose too much money. As I explained on twitter to one of my followers, it can be embarrassing to get caught up in one of these scams. We’re supposed to be smart, brilliant and know better, right? And unfortunately, some scams are just professional looking that we fall for it.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Eek! So sorry to hear. I hope you didn’t lose too much money. As I shared with one of my Twitter followers, the embarrassment of having fallen for this very sophisticated scam was totally out of character for me. But since I don’t see myself as a victim, I felt my need to share. So glad that you overcame your situation as well.

  • Anonymous

    Holy (and I do mean HOLY) moly Leesa! I’m so glad to hear your Spidey senses were firing on all cylinders. It’s a shame we have to be so uber-cautious and even suspicious but better to be that way than to be a victim! So glad you shared your experience. I will push out your link to my Twitter and Facebook peeps to warn others of this heinous activity.

    Great to re-connect with you and hey… REMAIN BLESSED BABY! ;-)

    Hugs
    Monica

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Hey gorgeous! Yes, please do share this with your peeps. Let’s warn as many people as possible about this speaking scam.

  • Louise

    Wow, good that you and your VA figured it out Leesa. They are so clever now, its hard to tell. But your intuition is always right! Yes, the language in the email was weird and would have got me questioning too. So glad you ‘overcame’ this bamboozling naughty crowd with your head held high! :) And thanks for sharing, so we can put our antenna up.
    Louise x

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      The language in the emails didn’t set off any bells for me. It did for my VA because she’s such a wordsmith. For me, it was when they started asking me for money that my radar went off. Sadly, by then I had already shared my signature on the signed contract, my passport number and my birthdate. But you’re right, Louise, never ignore the intuition (or voice of God as I refer to it).

  • Andrea Feinberg

    Leesa ~ Thanks so much for sharing this; it’s a very sophisticated scam, one that knew exactly how to appeal to you and clearly they did their homework. With your permission, I’d like to forward your email regarding this to those who I think should also be pre-warned. Some of us would be so tickled to think our reputation was going international and don’t have the super-sleuth assistant you’re blessed to have!

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Yes, please share! And you’re right – this is a very sophisticated scam. Like you said, for some, it will massage their ego to know they have an international invite to an international event.

  • Taylore

    Leesa, thank you so much for sharing your story. Alleluia for intuition! I’m going to save this post and share the link with my Social Media community. Your experience and sharing is a blessing to us. Thanks for looking out for us. Much love – Taylore

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Please share this with your community. When I plugged in “jarrow scam” into Google the day my VA said it was indeed a scam, there was only 1 LinkedIn discussion about the topic. Apparently, the National Association of Speakers has a blog post on this, but the blog is only available to its members. Hence the reason I had to share this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TayloreAshlie Taylore Ashlie

    If you’re a speaker, you need to read this post to protect yourself

  • Judy Jackson

    Scary close call Leesa. The wording and grammar immediately red flagged it for me. Thank goodness for your VA’s ‘gut’ alarms going off. And thank you for sharing with us in such a bold straight forward manner. Particularly important for new people to hear this because they are so anxious about getting clients or speaking engagements or selling a product that they may ignore some of the ‘not quite right’ signs. Glad you put protection measures in place… will be praying that there are no further problems for you from this.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Yup, Judy that’s the issue – what’s next. I did everything I can to protect myself, so I pray that this is indeed the end.

  • http://www.EnlightenedMarketing.com/ Samantha Hartley

    My clients almost got taken by a scam out of China. The term I use for these is “smell funny.” Anything that causes you to do several Google searches and investigations means something isn’t sitting well with you. In your case, both you and Tambara got a weird vibe. In our case, the client sent me the emails after a lot of back and forth with China. Because they were so hopeful about getting a project, they wanted to believe the exorbitant sums written in the email, but with an objective eye, I was able to point out to them that it just wasn’t legit.

    Thanks for raising awareness about this kind of thing, Leesa.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Good point. If it’s taking too many emails just to finalize the arrangement, something’s off. My VA kept coming back to me with “stuff” from the scammers. I started to get annoyed because the longer my VA has to be involved in planning my speaking gigs, the more it costs me in her time.

      The key here is to NOT be a solo in your business. Everyone needs to have support. Your client is fortunate to have you. I rely heavily on my VA – not just to handle my calendar and emails – but also to raise any questions should something not look right. That’s another lesson in this – never work alone.

  • http://twitter.com/MyParentingCoac Brenda Trott, M.Ed

    Thanks so much for sharing. Once upon a time we were encouraged to send this type of information to the FBI. I tried reporting a “job offer” that was similar to this scam, and I discovered there is no such place to report it! I called my local bank, and they told me to tell my local authorities..don’t think they are interested.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Sadly, these scams are so numerous, it’s hard for the FBI or here in Canada, the RCMP to keep up. In Canada, you can report these scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. I don’t know what the equivalent would be in the US.

  • http://twitter.com/JudyHWright Judy H Wright-Auntie

    Hello from Montana, yep, I got it too. So excited to speak to the youth gathered for an international conference in England. I Googled the school, the headmaster etc. but they did not have any conferences scheduled or know the man who was encouraging me to send money for the work permit.

    We would like to think everyone in the world is as kind, thoughtful and respectful as we are. Unfortunately, they are not.

    This is how we get to be such Smart Cookies.

    Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, the storytelling trainer
    http://www.judyhwright.com

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      You and I grew up in a culture where bribery & dishonesty is not a daily occurrence. In other words, we meet more honest people in our lifetime here on this side of the world than we do dishonest.

      In other parts of the world, scheming, bribery, threats to your security and freedom are a daily reality. When one grows up in such a dishonest environment, it’s no wonder that they can operate these scams and have no conscious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.monteverdi Karen Monteverdi

    Thanks Leesa,
    I have sent this comment to the International Coach Academy, there are a lot of new coaches that need to know.
    Karen

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deidra-Miller/1458781777 Deidra Miller

    Leesa, I’m a virtual administrator and aspiring speaker. This is great info to know, thanks for posting. I also copied the link to my Facebook people.

  • http://twitter.com/De_Boone De Boone

    Wow! Thank you for posting this information.

  • Spiritdancer

    Thanks for this info.

  • http://twitter.com/TorontoCarol Carol Bremner

    I’m glad you found out in time, Leesa. And I guess there is some merit in my being a small potato – I’m not on anyone’s radar:)

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      If you have a nice looking website and seem like you have presence, you can be targeted. Stay aware.

  • http://www.valheart.com/ Val Heart

    Thanks, Leesa! Very helpful, appreciate the warning so much.

  • Coachnurse

    Thank you for the information. Will pass it along.

  • http://www.SystemsLiberation.com/ Tanya Smith

    OMG, Leesa! Thank you for sharing this valuable information. It’s amazing to me how someone can be so sinister in their thinking, but it is definitely reality. So glad you were able to secure your information and spread the word.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      I shall not be silenced.

  • Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC,

    Thanks, Leesa! This is a great heads up for all of us!

  • April

    Wow….this is crazy [I'm glad God covered you and the rest of us from being scammed]. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/coachlindahillman Linda EmpowermentCoach Hillman

    It really is a shame that this is still going on. I was a victim of this back in 2009. at that time I found a website (after the fact) that would have helped me. However, I am glad that you did not fail prey to this. If you Google Pastor Edward Smith of Christ Church in Siddcup you will see that this scam has been going on for years. Colleen site also has many others who fell prey or almost fell prey. God help these people.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Oh my goodness! I googled Edward Smith scam and found a few blog posts dating back to 2009. This scam is old, but it seems like they change the name of the person doing the invites and the name of the organization. Crafty. If at least 10 people pay the $600 for the work permit, these scammers have made $6000. The last email I got from Tambara asking when I’ll send the money came from her iPad. No wonder they continue this scam. Wow!

  • Susan Kuhn

    Another tipoff. The address given was the UK not Scotland. That is like saying you are from Ontario, not Toronto. Excellent post!

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Thanks Susan. Should help others if they get this email in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/ZaraGreen Zara Green

    Many thanks, Leesa! I’m sharing with other speakers/trainers too.

  • http://www.virtualpartnering.com/ Cindy Hillsey

    Leesa, thank you for sharing your story. So glad you and your VA trusted her intuition!

    I have a lot of VA’s who follow me and many who support speakers. I’ll be writing a quick blog post about this and linking them back here to read about your experience.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Thanks for sharing this on your blog, Cindy. It’s important for VAs to trust their instinct and then voice their thoughts. Some newer VAs may think that they should just complete tasks and not say anything, but they should NEVER be afraid to comment on something if it just doesn’t feel right. If your client consistently brushes you off, find a new client. My VA is AWESOME in that she always gives me her thoughts on things I’m working on or people I’m working with. I value her input and in this case, she saved me from being victimized.

      • Anonymous

        Hello Leesa, i have read your story and other’s comment with so much heaviness in my heart because i’m a Nigerian and a professional speaker. It’s really so sad and so unfortunate that this is happening from my country. I have personally miss so many opportunities because people cannot trust Nigerians. I will like you to know that the individuals who are behind this scamming also try to scam even fellow Nigerian. I receive their fraudulent emails everyday. It is really a concern for me and many other well meaning Nigerians i believe. If you guys have any suggestions as to how this act can be eradicated, i’ll appreciate. At a time i thought of partnering with the government to do a speaking tour of our secondary schools and universities nationwide but somehow, it didn’t work out. I have not given up though. THE ONLY ADVICE I HAVE FOR ANYBODY WHO RECEIVE SUCH AN EMAIL OR COMMUNICATION FROM ANYONE AND THEY’RE ASKING FOR ANY MONEY FOR ANYTHING, DO NOT SEND SUCH MONEY. DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY TO ANYBODY FOR ANY REASON. And most times, if you read through their emails, there is always mistakes and loopholes.

        • Leesa Barnes

          I (and most people who read this blog) know not to paint an entire nation with the same brush. In other words, there are law abiding Nigerians who are making their money in honest ways.

          Sadly, the few are ruining it for the many and if my country’s reputation was at stake, I’d fight tooth and nail – and rally as many other Canadians as I could – to stop the few from ruining my country’s good name. I wish more Nigerians were like you and putting their efforts into stopping these illegal activities together, as a country.

  • Pingback: Do you support speakers? Are you a speaker? Then you must read this! | virtualpartnering.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/felicia.slattery Felicia Slattery

    Hi Leesa,
    A few months ago I received a “911″ email from a client asking for help in figuring out what to charge because she was invited for a speaking engagement in the UK on her area of expertise. She went around and around with the group and eventually it came out this too was a scam and just as scary. Her story was they would not pay her via Paypal or western Union and then started asking her for money so she could get paid by them. (Twisted logic, eh?)

    Because of my experience in the speaking industry, here’s the detail that would have tipped me off about your situation immediately: someone contacting me in January for an international speaking engagement in February. In our internet marketing world people can procrastinate because with internet technology it’s nothing to set up a telesummit or webinar (no room to get scheduled, no catering, etc.), it’s nothing to send an invitation (a quick handful of emails to our existing lists and social media promotion will do the trick), and having a buy button online is simple to set up & execute. Plus our market has been trained not to look for events more than a couple weeks to a month in advance anyway.

    But the REST of the speaking world — event planners for live events, typically hire their speakers AT LEAST 6 months in advance if not more. And for international gigs it’s usually longer. Unless this group had a story about someone being in place & suddenly cancelling at the last minute, I’d have been on guard at that moment.

    Another thing that would have sent up a red flag: you do not have to pay to speak anywhere. A work visa is required if you are going to be an employee. To get one check one time, you’re being paid an honorarium. Not as an employee.

    However, no judgement here. You are right. It’s easy to get excited about a speaking gig when an invitation comes. Especially an international one. I’d certainly do a happy dance at that email! And this group clearly has set up a system for scamming. They went out of their way to look legitimate.

    Kudos to you for not just figuring it out & letting it be. I’m glad you dug deeper to out the IP addresses and work with authorities in Canada & the UK as well as St. Paul’s. People need to know about the scammers who prey on business professionals too.

    I’m glad you did not lose out on anything more than time and you are brave enough to put all the info out there.

    I hope my comments soothe you, Mrs. Barnes. ;-) lol

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Thanks for my first giggle of the morning, Felicia! It does soothe me to blog this and let others know about this scam.

      That was one thing my mother said to me when I told her about the gig. She said “Leesa, you usually tell me about your speaking gigs at least 3-months ahead of time. Why is this so last minute and overseas to boot?”

      Well, she didn’t say “to boot” but you get the point. And of course, the scammers had an explanation in that a speaker cancelled and that their sponsor recommended me. My VA was already second-guessing this invitation, but for me, it wasn’t until I had to pay something for the honour of speaking that my flags went up.

      Lots of lessons learned here and if I’m fooled twice, shame on me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/felicia.slattery Felicia Slattery

        Doesn’t it bug you when your Mom is right about work stuff?? LOL

        I’m happy to hear your VA was looking out for you. It’s important to be surrounded by a team that has your best interests at heart and doesn’t simply do the tasks they’re told to do & keep their mouths shut! My team would jump all over someone trying to take advantage of me.

        3 cheers for awesome VAs!!! Just another reason why doing everything alone can harm you in business. We need another set of ears & eyes on everything we do!

        • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

          Yes, we CANNOT work in a bubble. We need to share our experiences, no matter how hurtful. It’s only when we do that we can help each other heal and avoid the same mistakes.

          And big 3 cheers for my awesome VA!!!! My business would be a little less effective if she wasn’t on my team. Keep her in your prayers too.

  • Dee

    I TOO SPEAK ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND HAVE RECEIVED A NUMBER OF THESE REQUEST … take a look at my letter. Now I received the first one at the time I WAS requested to speak in AFRICA however that came through my Road Manager and of course was vetted long before it reached me.

    Hello Dearest Dee Marshall ,

    Blessings to you from Jarrow, I am Bishop David Joseph Jarrow, presiding Minister of the Saint Paul’s Church, Jarrow, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you for a speaking event here in Jarrow at the Church conference coming up on the 27th, 28th & 29th of March 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.

    Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule. Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details.
    Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

    Remain Blessed.

    Bishop David Joseph Jarrow
    +44 70359 51032

    http://www.stpaulschurchjarrow.com/
    St Paul’s Church,
    Jarrow,
    Tyne & Wear,
    NE32 5QJ
    United Kingdom.

    all travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of as soon as you honor this invitation.We will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you honor our invitation.

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      What gets me is that they have the nerve to use Bible texts in their emails. They’re doing a dishonest thing robbing hard working people of their money and they’re quoting the Bible. But then again, so did the Devil when he tried to tempt Jesus while the latter was fasting.

      Glad you weren’t deceived into parting with your money. Stay vigilent.

    • mai lorenzo

      Hi, almost got the same just this day.
      Good Thing, I did a search on the net thats why I found this site.
      Shame on them to use the chuch and the bible…
      Thank you, Leese and Dee.

      Hello Dearest Mai Lorenzo,

      Blessings to you from Jarrow, I am Bishop David Joseph Jarrow, presiding Minister of the Saint Paul’s Church, Jarrow, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you for a speaking event here in Jarrow at the Church conference coming up on the 27th, 28th & 29th of March 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.

      Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule. Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details.
      Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

      Remain Blessed.

      Bishop David Joseph Jarrow
      +44 70359 51032

      http://www.stpaulschurchjarrow.com/
      St Paul’s Church,
      Jarrow,
      Tyne & Wear,
      NE32 5QJ
      United Kingdom.

      All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of as soon as you honor this invitation.We will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you honor our invitation.

      But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

      • Leesa Barnes

        Yes, shame on them for using God’s name and the Bible in their masquerade. Don’t even answer them. One should NOT argue, debate or get into anything with evil forces. Not even angels in the Bible had conversations with the Devil. When he’d show up, the angels simply said “Get thee hence.” My mistake was continuing to engage them. I’ve learned my lesson.

  • http://www.lisarobbinyoung.com Lisa Robbin Young

    There’s two things that come to mind here. First, our need to deeply trust that still, small voice inside us. Second, to be sure we’re doing our research.

    Leesa, you’ve offered a tremendous example of just how elaborate these scams have gotten, and you are to be commended for not only sharing it, but for spending the time and money to continue to follow up on it with overseas authorities. Many people would chalk it up as a lesson learned, and vow to be more careful next time, without letting their community know what’s up.

    Scams can come in all shapes and sizes, to be sure. I’m tenacious, so I often “waste” resources by sticking to my guns on issues of principle. When I had someone forge my signature on a bank account and withdraw all the funds (it was about $200), the bank refused to press charges or follow up because it was not “worth” their time and resources to do so. They simply replaced the $200 – but nothing was ever done to prevent the person who stole the money from doing again somewhere else.

    Not exactly the same thing as what happened to you, but the principle is the same. If people who are affected don’t speak up, the scamming continues. And sometimes, even the powers that be don’t care – but that doesn’t mean WE shouldn’t be looking out for each other.

    Through it all, we need to stay mindful of our gut, inner wisdom, God voice, deeper knowing, intuition or whatever you’d like to call it. Very often we ignore the warning signs that are blaring in front of us. Sometimes it only costs us a little, but over time, if we continue to ignore that voice, it just stops talking to us altogether until we’re ready to listen again.

    And that’s the worst possible thing that could happen.

    Great post (as usual, my dear!).

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      That’s what bugs me the most – how cavalier the banks and law enforcement is about this. I get that they probably get their share of Nigerian scams and that the amounts stolen aren’t worth the paperwork. But c’mon, if 10 people are scammed of $600 each, that’s quite a bit. Or, if that person goes from bank to bank skimming $200, they could make $200,000 in a month. No wonder customers are so distrustful of banks. They don’t do their due diligence, then ask the government for a bailout because they didn’t take care of the little mistakes, the small frauds, the small time crooks.

      But I do thank God for impressing my VA to toss and turn until she solved this issue. My VA said she couldn’t sleep because there was something about their emails that bugged her. We have a great relationship and she knows that if something just doesn’t feel right, say something. Some VAs may be starstruck working with a “celebrity” client and may not have the confidence to say something. Which is too bad because every business owner will say that their VA is the most valuable person on their team.

  • http://www.VivaVisibilityBlog.com/ Nancy Marmolejo

    Leesa, you’re such a smart cookie, nobody could pull one over on you. But dang, they sure came close with this approach! Scammers are finding new niches… looks like the speaker niche is their new target. I applaud you for sharing this and keeping your peeps in the know about this stuff. I also want to say to anyone who falls for these things that it can happen to anyone. Watching the language syntax was your big clue, Leesa. We all need to be hyper observant of everything from email addresses to logos to letterhead to IP addresses…

    thank you!!!

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      My mother said that soon, these scams will originate within our own borders. It’s easy (and that I say that now that I know what to look for) to spot these scams because of the poor language and the IP address of the originating emails. But when these scammers start to use impeccable English and the IP addresses are here in the US & Canada, will the crooks be that easy to spot? Like you said, we all need to be hyper observant.

  • Rudy

    Leesa,
    Thank you for sharing the experience that you and your personal assistant encountered. I would like to offer a suggestion to you and your audience. If I think an e-mail is suspect, determine the IP address used by the sender and “Google” the IP address or look for a site that will tell you the location of an IP address.
    For example, using the three IP addresses that you posted earlier, I went to What is My IP Address.com (http://whatismyipaddress.com). One of the tabs offered is an IP Look-up. Enter the numbers, and the information on the site will appear. There are many others that work the same. Based on your information, the e-mails came from three different cities in Nigeria.
    Continued success with your work,
    Rudy

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Nice! Thanks for sharing that resource, Rudy. Wish I did that from the start instead of wasting my time communicating a professional way with these scammers.

      And I really wanted it NOT to be a nigerian scam. There are some pretty decent people in Nigerian, but sadly, their dishonest citizens are creating a very nasty stereotype. Hence the reason why I needed to do an IP search first.

  • http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/jamaican-foods-min-e-book/18839860 Ddixon

    Totally scary and disgusting. Thanks for sharing

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577756225 Placida Acheru

    Thank you Leesa,

    I am a UK based speaker and this post was shared in a Facebook group , I was curious what a church was doing scamming people. I haven’t had this experience but really glad to know that scams now target speakers and we should all be careful- who would have thought. Sadly these scam have been traced to my country. Well I have shared this to all my network so those in our profession are aware this is happening. Careful is the watch word now. And well done to you for listening to your VA. Thank you to all our VA’s that watch out for us. :)

    • Leesa Barnes

      Thankfully, UK law enforcement is taking this very seriously. We’ve forwarded all the emails to our contact at the real St Paul’s who’s sent them to investigators. Please continue to share this post so that more and more speakers are aware of this scam. There are some who already posted in the comments below that this blog post already saved them from becoming a victim.

  • Joan

    Thank you for all this detailed information! I will pass it on to my network as well! Warmly, Joan Pounds http://www.monetizationmagic.com

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Please share this as far and wide as you can. What the scammers didn’t take into account is that I wouldn’t hide this experience.

  • Sue

    Leesa:

    So happy you didn’t get totally roped in and that you and your VA were able to prevent ramifications. Thank you for sharing and for your very detailed updates.

    I went through something very similar this past year (actually a couple times in different ways) relative to someone claiming to be the promoter of a seminar and looking for guest speakers … the worst part was feeling like an idiot and that, as an intelligent person, I somehow got hoodwinked into believing this stuff. I was embarrassed to admit to anyone (including my husband) that my radar did not go off until too late … A substantial amount of money is now unrecoverable. The entire scenario (and a lot of details, account transfer numbers, names, etc that I hope was useful information) was reported to the police. Those involved were from Montreal, London UK, Nigeria, South Africa, China and Ghana.

    Just finishing off dealing with identity theft issue over the holidays — holy Money Mirror Batman! It certainly has been an enlightening year relative to dealing with my ‘stuff’ — in hindsight, of course!

    Blessings

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Sue, I’m sorry to hear that you were a victim of a similar scam. I applaud you for having the courage to share your experience on my blog. The biggest reason why most victims don’t share their experience is because of shame and embarrassment. It certainly doesn’t help when you do share with a loved one what you went through and they start berating you about all the things you should’ve done differently.

      Sadly, there’s now a wedge between myself and a family member who went on and on about all the things they would NEVER do and how I shouldn’t be so desperate for business. Certainly not what I need to hear after already dealing with the sting of being victimized.

  • Patrick

    thank you so much for posting this…my wife and I were just in the process of getting caught in the downward spiral of this whole scam. Things just weren’t adding up, even though we had come to the conclusion intuitively that it was not for real it was surprisingly difficult to nail down if this was or not. This post was so very timely. BTW….what you described is EXACTLY what we have experienced.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      This is EXACTLY why I published my own experience. When my VA finally dug up the evidence that this conference was a scam, I went searching online and found a LinkedIn discussion on the topic. Just one. It was important that people find multiple sources regarding this spam so they can get a perspective from someone who went through almost all the steps. I’m soooooo happy you were able to discover this ruse BEFORE you sent money.

      • Patrick

        We are in the process of notifying CAPS as well as spreading the word within our speaker community…our worry is the information we provided on the contract for the ‘work visa’ …having to notify credit bureau etc to cover our back…identity fraud is the concern.

  • http://learnerfocusedcoaching.com/ Louise Gray

    So sorry you were targeted on this, yet so glad you shared your story. I am also looking to expand my speaking and I will be on alert for things like this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.mattsen Michelle Mattsen

    I sure do hope your identity hasn’t been compromised.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      I’m not worried about that. Protections are in place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.mattsen Michelle Mattsen

    I sure do hope your identity hasn’t been compromised.

  • http://www.donaldwood.com/ Donald

    I just received a letter from ‘Rev. Jimmy King’ this morning. It was sent to my “info’ address which made it look good at first. They have done their homework with the website and all. Still, something was making me nervous about this. (The church was going to send me a contract? I thought I was supposed to send the contract to them.) I looked through the e-mail for an IP address and tried to track it with no luck (a gmail.com address). So I searched for the phone number that was provided – BINGO! Your blog came up. Thank you for sharing this information with everyone.

    • Leesa Barnes

      They just won’t stop. Sadly, it’s because they are making money with this scam, but I’m happy that you avoided getting caught up in this due to finding this blog post.

  • John Doe

    Hello Dearest John Doe, Blessings to you from the United Kingdom John Doe, I am Reverend Jimmy King, Presiding Minister of Alloa Baptist Church ,Alloa ,United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would liketo engage you for a speaking engagement here in Alloa at the Church conference coming up on the 27th,28th & 29th of April 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’. Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule. Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details. Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

    Remain Blessed.
    Rev. Jimmy King M.A.
    Alloa Baptist Church
    +44 70359 51032
    http://www.alloabaptistchurch.org.
    uk5 Ludgate, Alloa,
    Alloa FK10 2DR

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

    NT: All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of by us as soon as you honor this invitation. The events committee will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as well. Email us in ample time any questions you may have so we can move ahead.

    • Leesa Barnes

      So the name of the church and the name of the person has changed? Thanks for sharing this. We need to know the variety of names they’re using to scam honest people.

  • http://www.theconfidencecoach.com/ drkeithjohnson

    Tried the same thing on me….glad you posted this…you wonder when the Nigerian Government is going to shut these guys down. Nobody wants to do business with anybody in this nation.

    • Leesa Barnes

      Sadly, it’s the few that’s ruining the reputation of the many.

  • Loyd Auerbach

    Thanks for posting this.

    The scam is still alive, in this case as “Rev. Jimmy King” of Alloa Baptist Church in Scotland. I know of one other speaker who received the email from him for the “Big Things: How to Start Small” conference happening at the end of April.

    I was a little suspicious and have been going back and forth with “Rev. King” to confirm their fee offer and was now waiting to see whether they would be sending a deposit or asking for money. Been a week since my last email.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Seems like they disappear when you ask them to send money first. My assistant had suggested they take the fee for the $600 work visa out of the deposit they were going to send me and they said that the sponsor won’t release the funds until my work permit was approved. Their inflexibility was another reason I became suspicious. You probably won’t hear from them which is just as well.

  • Hillary

    Hi Leesa – thank you so much for your comments. The scam is alive and well and moved to Scotland and the Alloa Baptist Church – below is the letter I received – the language tipped me off too. I didn’t send anything, fortunately, but I want to help stop this – it is just plain wrong! It reminds us all to trust our instincts!

    Thank you again,

    Prosperous Blessings,

    Hillary Harris

    Hello Dearest [my name] ,

    Blessings to you from the United Kingdom [my name], I am Reverend
    Jimmy King, Presiding Minister of Alloa Baptist Church , Alloa ,United
    Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you
    for a speaking engagement here in Alloa at the Church conference
    coming up on the 27th,28th & 29th of April 2012. The conference is
    tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’. Please we would like you to
    convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in
    your schedule. Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get
    back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the
    details. Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

    Remain Blessed.

    Rev. Jimmy King M.A.
    Alloa Baptist Church
    +44 70359 51032
    http://www.alloabaptistchurch.org.uk
    5 Ludgate, Alloa,
    Alloa
    FK10 2DR

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
    for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him
    who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

    NT: All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit
    as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of by us as soon as
    you honor this invitation. The events committee will send you all
    binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract
    Agreement as well. Email us in ample time any questions you may have
    so we can move ahead.

    • http://leesabarnes.com Leesa Barnes

      Thanks for posting what the new scam email looks like.

  • Steve Simpson

    Scam reaches Australia!!

    Hi there. I’m a speaker in Australia and received the following:

    Blessings to you from the United Kingdom Steve,I am Reverend Jimmy
    King, Presiding Minister of Alloa Baptist Church , Alloa , United
    Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you
    for a speaking engagement here in Alloa at the Church conference
    coming up on the 27th,28th & 29th of April 2012. The conference is
    tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’. Please we would like you to
    convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in
    your schedule. Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get
    back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the
    details. Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

    Remain Blessed.

    Rev. Jimmy King M.A.
    Alloa Baptist Church
    +44 70359 51032
    http://www.alloabaptistchurch.org.uk
    5 Ludgate, Alloa,
    Alloa
    FK10 2DR

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
    for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him
    who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

    I sent an email back saying I think they got the wrong Steve Simpson, as I’m based in Australia. Kust now, I received the following:

    Blessings to you Steve Simpson,
    I have emailed the Right Steve and yes we had this at heart before we
    sent you such email. I want you to know that the church had put that
    into consideration that’s why we are offering to take responsibilities
    of your flight to the Event and back to Australia, we are also
    providing you with accommodation throughout your stay for the event
    and i will bee glad if you can gladly get back to me with your
    availability for the dates of the event and also how much you charge
    as speaking fee.
    I Look forward to reading from you soon Steve.

    Remain Blessed
    Rev Jimmy King M.A

    I smelled a rat, so I sent another email saying let’s connect via skype or phone, and I just this minute got the following email:

    Blessings to you Steve,
    Am so sorry i do not have a skype address but i can be reached on +44
    70359 51032.
    I Look forward to hearing from you .
    Remain Blessed
    Rev Jimmy King M.A

    I’m seriously tempted to ring it!!!

    Regards

    Steve Simpson
    http://www.ugrs.net

    • Leesa Barnes

      Hmmmm…I wonder if I should call instead?

    • http://twitter.com/trinite3 K.M. Johnson

      I just received the EXACT same initial email!

      Dearest K.M. Johnson ,

      Blessings to you from the United Kingdom,I am Reverend Jimmy King,
      Presiding Minister of Alloa Baptist Church , Alloa , United Kingdom.
      We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you for a
      speaking engagement here in Alloa at the Church conference coming up
      on the 27th,28th & 29th of April 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big
      things: How to start small’. Please we would like you to convey to us
      your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule.
      Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch
      with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details. Thank
      you and expecting to hear from you soon.

      Remain Blessed.

      Rev. Jimmy King M.A.
      Alloa Baptist Church
      +44 70359 51032
      http://www.alloabaptistchurch.org.uk
      5 Ludgate, Alloa,
      Alloa
      FK10 2DR

      • Chuck Hansen

        Just got the same email. I’m not sure three days is enough time for all these speakers…

  • Steve Simpson

    Have done a bit more exploring and the number provided (+44 70359 51032) is what’s called a ‘Personal numbering’ number – which means it’s a portable number that can be redirected to anywhere in the world (like Nigeria!). Using the cheapest way I know to make international calls (Localphone) calling this number costs 80c per minute.

    Fascinating what one can find!!

    • Leesa Barnes

      With a bit of digging around, yes, one can definitely find out ALOT. Unfortunately, many do not take the time to investigate these requests. My assistant was suspicious of the language used in the emails. The English wasn’t quite right and fortunately, she kept digging around. But this request depends on speed and they know that being professionals, we’ll quickly get the request done. It’s shocking to me that these guys have no conscious about scamming business people. None at all.

  • Stephen

    I have received e-mails from them twice in the past year. The phone number is always the same, though the church changes. I too almost fell for it the first time, but the responses became odd quickly. I played with them a little after I realized it was a scam. I sent a list of things required in a green room, silly things like brown M&Ms, winter harvested honey and they agreed easily. I finally told them they were just idiots.

    • Stephen

      BTW, the latest was yesterday from a Church in South Manchester for a tea and workshop in April. I sent an e-mail to the Church, just to make sure they were aware. The one thing that apparently remains consistent is the phone number.

    • Leesa Barnes

      Oh my goodness…brown M&Ms and winter harvested honey. I fell out of my chair laughing. Wait, no, I was in my bed when I read your reply…so I fell out of my bed laughing. I should remember to make those odd requests the next time I see a request like this.

  • http://twitter.com/trinite3 K.M. Johnson

    Thank you so much for sharing Leesa. I received an email and immediately thought to begin researching. Thank you for posting. http://www.kmjohnsonspeaks.com

  • Bernadette

    Hi Leesa!

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m also a facilitator and speaker. Last month I received email from a college in the UK and I did the same thing your assistant did and contacted the college directly…they never heard of the conference and said they were aware of the scammers using their name. The reason I found your site was because I just checked my email and received an email almost verbatim to the one you described here!!!! I found you because I googled parts of the email. I appreciate you sharing!

    • Leesa Barnes

      Yeah! I’m glad this blog post helped in your research. It’s the only reason why I wrote it – to help others avoid becoming a victim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Byron-Nakagawa/100001656846571 Byron Nakagawa

    Leesa,

    Thank you for sharing I just got the Rev Jimmy King e-mail hours ago. I was falling for it but I decided to do some research and Thank God! your post is here. For a fairly new speaker such as myself this can be very tempting and I definitely can’tafford to loose any money or time over something like this! but the church is now Alloa Baptist Church in the United Kingdom. I live in New York it sounds like your in Canada? I got dupped once with a tech scam but out of Russia. Thanks so much!

    • Leesa Barnes

      Ah, it is quite tempting, isn’t it? And with the tight deadline, the scammers are hoping that the speed to get things done will prevent you from doing any research. The good news is as this scam reaches more people, it’ll lose its effectiveness. Until a new one pops up…

  • D. Pepper

    I got this very same scam from Bishop Jarrow & Edward Smith in November 2011 for a an event in December!! Another name they used was “Peggy Roland” and she was supposedly with the UK Border Agency (another way for them to collect their money). I called them and they did not have her as an employee who worked for them. I spoke with a lady at the actual church over there and before I could say much at all, she asked me if it was from Edward Smith & informed me it was a scam and had happened a handful of times. I had email after email from corresponding with these people. She suggested I send them all to her to turn over to police & help with the case. We had paid the travel expense already when we found out it was a scam. We still have not been reimbursed for that money. Things just did not add up and we were wise to begin investigating it and halted everything before giving them any money, so we were only out the airfare. Hope this somehow helps too…

    • Leesa Barnes

      Thanks for letting me (and other readers) know that Peggy Roland is another name associated with this scam. The good news is that if you secured your travel with an airline, they’ll keep it as a credit in your name for about a year. Yes, you were wise to investigate before sending any money.

  • Pingback: Jarrow uk | Seigneux

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Bell/100003519563218 Sean Bell

    i live in jarrow and i am anglican and i went on to the church website and it said if you get emails about things like that they are a scam and i did not know what it ment till i found this thanks for searing this.bishop mark is a nice person he sometimes does the mass at saint peters the church i go to.

    • http://leesabarnes.com/ Leesa Barnes

      It’s a shame that these scammers are using churches to commit their crime. As I stated above, the church is innocent in this and I can imagine they’re frustrated that they’re caught up in such un-Godly actions.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Bell/100003519563218 Sean Bell

        i know churches are the house of god and at my church we just had the roof fixed because thefts soled some roof slates but i am glad they got it fixed before the water flood some where:):)

  • http://www.actionridertack.com Deidre Hughey

    Leesa – I wanted to share that this scam has now proceeded to the Stopsley Baptist Church and they are utilizing Pastor Steve Moody as their scapegoat now. I had gotten to the same point as you when my alarm bells went haywire! That was when I located your post. The body of the email I received is exactly the same, just a new church and pastor. Thanks for keeping this information available for speakers. The most frustrating part for me is the time wasted on something completely illegitimate. Thanks again!

    • http://leesabarnes.com/ Leesa Barnes

      Thanks Deidre. My virtual assistant sent the church a link to this blog post and some background info so they’re aware of what these scammers are doing.

  • http://theartofchange.com/ Dr. K

    Thank you for posting this. You have saved me a lot off trouble! I am now corresponding with the Emmanuel Church, but it’s still Edward smith running the organizing committee, he still has a hotmail address, a new name is offering to help get me a work permit and she has a work mail.com address, and the head pastor had a gmail. When they asked for my passport, i googled and found you. The English used in the emails is the worst! Your outlining the specifics is a life saver!

    Thank you!

    • http://leesabarnes.com/ Leesa Barnes

      I’m so happy that this post was able to save you time and alot of headaches. If you want a good laugh, you should read my follow-up blog post on how the scammer justifies his crime. It’s the most audacious, ridiculous thing I’ve ever read – http://tinyurl.com/bsvgfq7

  • Christine

    Thank you for your post. I, too, received a letter and invitation. I will post the letter. Names involved in the scam: Pastor Steve Moody, Edward Smith, Patricia Coleman, Stopsley Church (this is a real church), title “Big things: How to start small.” The item that caused me to pause was the necessity to pay for a work permit.

    Here is the initial letter. Below the letter is a copy of the “contract.”

    Thank you very much Christine, We understand Shawn is from the USA, We are a pioneer of the ‘One world, One people’ campaign, So we are leading by example by inviting foreign speaker to our event in June! which is why we have contacted him!
    I have a few more details to share with you & Shawn so you both can have more insight on the conference and what the church stands for as a whole.

    Since inauguration of this ‘One Big Family Church’ , We have been involved in new and inspiring developments, organizing this conference is one of them and it will go a long way in achieving our dreams to bring people together to learn and gain from other people’s experience which is one of the major reason why we are arranging this conference this year. Previously before we were reformed, Anglo-Saxon lectures were given and people in the community and environs always gained from this which teaches history and culture. The lecture will be published in this year’s following delivery and copies can be obtained at Manchester or our other branches or from the lecture secretary).
    With a Church uniting as One Big Family, We have been able to draw people closer to the word and also try to teach them values with which they can survive the world. It is due to this age-long ritual that we have decided to organize a conference such as this since the doctrine of the Church lectures has evolved over the years we are proud to say we are keeping the hope alive! It is due to this that we are hosting the Church Lunch come 1st of June, then the ‘Leadership development workshop’ on June 2nd & 3rd 2012 with about 300 people in attendance,

    Shawn was fingered to speak at this event on the recommendation of a staff of one of our sponsors and after checking his credentials and after reading blogs about him, we received the Lords direction to invite him to speak in this event and we also believe he is as well more than capable to deliver in this occasion, We have decided among the Event Organizing Committee to invite him to this program.
    We are inviting Shawn so he can inspire this people, teach them how to triumph over the deflating effects of set-backs & self-doubt, how to break free from whatever is keeping them “small”, and become empowered by their challenges, rather than victimized. And most importantly, how to start great things with small efforts and steadfastness. We are expecting your speech to last for about 60mins-70mins and a question & answer session thereafter.

    Since I was inaugurated as the Presiding Minister of this esteemed church, God has being helping us to keep hope and monuments alive and we have also being able to change the face of Christianity, and the church having a whole lot of history attached.
    Apart from the conference coming up June, The church is as well involved in a few other projects. For one, the church has dedicated the new school building to the Most reverend Benjamin Heagreaves,(The Pioneer Minister of this esteemed church)) in view of his many achievements, the website is under-construction.

    http://www.benjamin.lancsngfl.ac.uk/

    Sending out the invitation to Shawn is by virtue of Gods bearing plus human recommendation, We need him to use your wealth of experience to sensitize the congregation, We organized this conference and workshop also in the hope of trying to re-organize the Church and further extend our impacts, So we can have people listen and be inspired by speakers like Shawn.

    The conference theme of the Church Lunch has been carefully chosen by the Lords’ inspiration due to the backdrop of the present situation in the United Kingdom and this year’s conference has been tagged. ‘Big things: How to Start small’

    You can email us the keynote Shawn would like to speak on as we would want him to be convenient with the keynote topic so we decided it would be better he chooses it hiimself as long as its motivational and inspiring! We will as well need Shawn’s bio to put up on our website and start to design posters as well as hand bills.

    We would like to know Shawn’s standard speaking fee for this engagement as we do indeed have a sponsor, Our fees are based on budget But we will also be glad to negotiate.
    All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of by us as soon as Shawn honors this invitation. The events committee will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as well.
    Email us in ample time any questions you may have so we can move ahead.

    You are blessed.


    Steve Moody
    +44 7031873786

    Stopsley Baptist Church
    St Thomas Road,
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    LU2 7XP
    United Kingdom

    Here is the contract:

    STOPSLEY BAPTIST CHURCH

    St Thomas Road.
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    LU27XP.
    United Kingdom.

    7th of May 2012

    CONTRACT AGREEMENT

    This letter of Agreement is made and entered into between XXXXXX (hereinafter referred to as the “Speaker/performer”) and Stopsley Baptist Church (Herein referred to as the “Presenter”)

    The contact person for matters of this agreement is Steve Moody, the Presiding Minister of the Stopsley Baptist Church who will act as agent for the presenter.

    Theme: ‘Big things: How to start small’

    Host: Stopsley Baptist Church
    Contact: Steve Moody
    Guest Speaker: XXXXX

    Function: Stopsley Baptist Church Lunch/Conference 2012

    Date: 1st of June 2012 – 3rd of June 2012
    Appearance Date: 2nd & 3rd of June 2012

    Location: Stopsley Baptist Church
    Church Auditorium
    Bedfordshire.

    Audience Size / Demographics: 250 – 300

    Time Table / Duration:

    1st of June 2012 – approximately ____________ 3.00pm – 6.00pm

    2nd of June 2012 – approximately ____________ 2.00pm – 4.15pm

    3rd of June 2012 – approximately 4:30pm – 7:00pm

    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 performer/speaker

    Work Permit: to be taken care of by Speaker/Performer

    Presenter will provide ground transportation to and from the Heathrow International Airport. Note: Stopsley Baptist Church is the Presenter.

    Accommodations: Room(s) with a king-size bed, non-smoking with late arrival guaranteed PLUS meals.

    Hotel: Standard room(s) at Hilton Hotel for 3 nights

    PAYMENT TERMS AND CONDITION:

    Payable to: Speaker/Performer

    Speaker Fee: 2,000(USD) – plus expenses as outlined above.

    Deposit Fee: 2,000(USD) Funds due upon Procurement of UK Work Permit and other relevant travel documents.

    Fee Notes: Deposit will be issued out as check, wire transfer or bank deposit (depending on your preferred mode of payment) and balance will be paid in cash upon arrival.

    PLEASE NOTE: The first part payment of your Speaking/performance fee will be made to you as soon as you obtain your relevant travel documents and work permit.

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

    The management hereby in its effort to ensure a memorable event appeal to speakers to be steadfast and be committed to the Church during the process and duration of this contract in order not to forfeit his/her deposit and be terminated from contract.

    Also air line ticket will be provided for the below Speaker/performer as well by the Event Organizing Committee with free accommodation and feeding plus 50% airfare for accompanying persons ( if applicable ).

    The Event Committee will provide airfare ticket for accompany person as arranged.

    Rationale: The above action is to ensure readiness of the Speaker/Performer and mitigates the Presenters loss of revenue should Performer and/or required documentation not be provided in completion in a timely manner. The management of Stopsley Baptist church has hereby laid down these rules for Speaker/Performer to abide by these principles, If speaker/performer should void this agreement in any form, he/she will forfeit the deposit in the above said amount and be terminated from said contract with a written explanation to the purported offending party as to cancellation of this signed agreement.

    IN WITNESS THEREOF the Speaker/performer 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:

    Signature: ________________________

    Date: ________________________

    Host: Pastor Steve Moody

    Authorized Signature:

    ………………………………………
    Edward Smith
    President, Event Organizing Committee
    For: Stopsley Baptist Church

    • Leesa Barnes

      Wow, the names change, but the overall message is the same. They work on the tight deadline to force you to take action quickly. I’m so glad you shared this with us, Christine.

  • http://www.staceycopas.com/ Stacey Copas

    Thanks for sharing this – I received a similar email today – looked suspicious so I researched and found this site. Different church etc but same scam:
    ” Blessings to you from Grace Baptist Church, Stacey, I am Rev Brian Moody, presiding Minister of Grace Baptist Church, Surrey, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you for a speaking event here in Surrey at the Church conference coming up on the 15th, 16th & 17th of August 2012. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.

    Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule.
    Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details.
    Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

    Remain Blessed.


    Rev Brian Moody
    +44 7024015650

    Grace Baptist Church, Epsom
    32 Dorking Road
    Epsom Surrey
    KT18 7NH
    United Kingdom
    http://www.gbce.org.uk/

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
    1 Peter 2:9

    • Leesa Barnes

      Thanks for sharing this Stacey and I’m happy you were not a victim.

  • http://www.michellerosado.com/ Michelle R.

    Hi Leesa,

    I just received the same exact email this morning and contacted the church directly. This so-called “‘Big things: How to start small’. conference is nowhere to be found on their site, and the email address it initially was sent from is slightly different from the one on the site. I’m awaiting a response from the Reverend, but I cannot thank you enough for sharing this experience with your fellow speakers.

    • Leesa Barnes

      If revealing their nasty scam means that one more honest, hard working speaker keeps their money, then this blog post has served its purpose.

  • http://www.normcowie.com Norm Cowie

    Here’s the one I got. I’m glad this thread is up so I could learn what they were attempting.
    Norm

    ST JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH,
    Princes Street, Perth
    PH2 8LJ Scottish Charity
    http://Episcopalanglicanchurch@gamil.com
    Telephone:+44 702 402 4745

    REQUEST FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Dear Norm Cowie,

    My Name is Pastor Alan MacPherson from St John’s Episcopal Church in
    Scotland UK. We want you to be our guest speaker at this Year ST
    JOHN’S EPISCOPAL ANNUAL YEAR CONFERENCE 2012 which will take place In
    here The SCOTLAND UK. We are writing to invite and confirm your
    booking to be our Speaker at these year ST JOHN’S EPISCOPAL ANNUAL
    YEAR CONFERENCE 2012.Other Ministers Of God are coming from Different
    part of the World.

    The Venue as follows:
    DATE:12th -16th July 2012
    Princes Street, Perth
    PH2 8LJ
    Scottish Charity
    Email:EPISCOPALANGLICANCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

    Expected audience: 2500 people Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Church/Organization
    Host Pastor Alan MacPherson Tel Phone: +44 702 402 4745
    Topic: THE EFFECT OF COMPROMISING GOD STANDARD.
    Theme: “SHOW THE LIGHT AND THE PEOPLE WILL FIND THE WAY
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING OF AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD’S AND BOOKS: ALLOWED.

    Our Guest.
    Pastor: Kath Larry from London.
    Pastor: Smith from London.
    UK former Minister: Tony Blair
    Gospel: Ada Lambert Guitar Tabs from Australia

    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 and ensuring that it is possible for
    Christians, whether new or of long standing, to deepen their spiritual
    lives and gain eternal life. Also bringing a heart of deep compassion
    and a strong commitment to the fullness of life that is found only in
    the redemptive love of Christ.

    We came across your profile on http://fangface.homestead.com and we
    say it’s up to standard and we will be very glad to have such an
    outstanding personality in our mist for these overwhelming gathering.
    With your Multi talented speech more lives will come close to GOD.
    Arrangement to welcome you here will be discussed as soon as you honor
    our invitation. If you have any more publicity material, please do not
    hesitate to contact me. A formal Contract Agreement Letter would be
    sent to you as soon as you honor our invitation. We are taking care of
    your traveling and Hotel Accommodation expenses including your Speaker
    fees.

    In His Services,
    Pastor Alan MacPherson
    ST JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH,

    • Kevin

      I received this exact e-mail today and responded. However, no money has been exchanged. Thank you for posting this information.

  • http://larrywinget.com Mary

    We received an invitation from “Emmanuel Evangelical Chapel” in London for a speaking engagement entitled (you guessed it) “Big things: How to start small.” Individuals involved were Michael Silver and Edward Smith.

    Same drill: wanted work permit in advance. But they promised business class airfare for one, plus 50% business class airfare for traveling companion. Speaker fee would be paid union presentation of work visa. Hotel accommodations at Hilton. Blah blah blah. They can make it sound pretty legitimate but something about it didn’t smell right from the very beginning. Was happy to read this blog to confirm our suspicions.

    Total BS. We didn’t fall for it, but just want to warn other speakers out there.

    • Leesa Barnes

      Mary, thank you for letting us all know that the names have changed. We need to stay on top of this and continue to document what’s changing and what’s staying the same.

  • Meg

    Hi.
    I am a personal assistant and I just received exactly the same email inviting my boss.
    The dates have changed. They are now 17th of August 2012. I am overly cautious and research every event he gets invited to.
    Thank you for posting this. We are forever grateful.
    Blessings.

    • Leesa Barnes

      And Meg, thank you for being so diligent in researching this for your boss. Like my virtual assistant, we need more administrators like you who are cautious.

  • http://www.jesusnebot.com Jesus Nebot

    Thanks Leesa
    Below is the e-mail I received from my assistant. Thank God I found a link to your site when googled the name of the pastor and the church. The details of the scam keep changing so I think it is good that we keep posting them to make it easier on anybody to come upon your site if they also do some research. Much love

    Thank you very much Susana, I have a few more details to share with you so you can have more insight on the conference and what the church stands for as a whole.

    Since inauguration of this ‘One Big Family Church’ , We have been involved in new and inspiring developments, organizing this conference is one of them and it will go a long way in achieving our dreams to bring people together to learn and gain from other people’s experience which is one of the major reason why we are arranging this conference this year. Previously before we were reformed, Anglo-Saxon lectures were given and people in the community and environs always gained from this which teaches history and culture. The lecture will be published in this year’s following delivery and copies can be obtained at Manchester or our other branches or from the lecture secretary).

    With a Church uniting as One Big Family, We have been able to draw people closer to the word and also try to teach them values with which they can survive the world. It is due to this age-long ritual that we have decided to organize a conference such as this since the doctrine of the Church lectures has evolved over the years we are proud to say we are keeping the hope alive! It is due to this that we are hosting the Church Lunch come January 15 then the workshop on the 16th & 17th day of January with about 300 people in attendance,

    Since I was inaugurated as the Presiding Minister of this esteemed church, God has being helping us to keep hope and monuments alive and we have also being able to change the face of Christianity, and the church having a whole lot of history attached.
    Apart from the conference coming up January, The church is as well involved in a few other projects. For one, the church has dedicated the new school building to the Most reverend Benjamin Heagreaves,(The Pioneer Minister of this esteemed church)) in view of his many achievements.

    Jesus was fingered to speak at this event on the recommendation of a staff of one of our sponsors and after checking his credentials and after reading blogs about him, we received the Lords direction to invite him to speak in this event and we also believe is more than capable to deliver in this occasion, We have decided among the Event Organizing Committee to invite him to this program.

    Sending out the invitation to Jesus is by virtue of Gods bearing plus human recommendation, We need him to use his wealth of experience to sensitize the congregation, We organized this conference and workshop also in the hope of trying to re-organize the Church and further extend our impacts, So we can have people listen and be inspired by speakers like yourself. We just had Jackie Pullinger MBE, author of ‘Chasing the Dragon’ over from Hong Kong for a dinner speech on the 12th of this month and it was very entertaining and spirit-filled.

    We are inviting Jesus so you can inspire this people, teach them how to triumph over the deflating effects of set-backs & self-doubt, how to break free from whatever is keeping them “small”, and become empowered by their challenges, rather than victimized. And most importantly, how to start great things with small efforts and steadfastness. We are expecting his speech to last for about 60mins-70mins and a question & answer session thereafter.

    The conference theme of the Church Lunch has been carefully chosen by the Lords’ inspiration due to the backdrop of the present situation in the United Kingdom and this year’s conference has been tagged. ‘Surpassing your limits: Attaining the unattainable’.
    You can email us the keynote Jesus would like to speak on as we would want him to be convenient with the keynote topic so we decided it would be better Jesus chooses it imhself as long as its motivational and inspiring! We will as well need his bio to put up on our website and start to design posters as well as hand bills.

    We would like to know Jesus’ standard speaking fee for this engagement as we do indeed have a sponsor, Our fees are based on budget But we will also be glad to negotiate.
    All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of by us as soon as you honor this invitation. The events committee will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as well.
    Email us in ample time any questions you may have so we can move ahead.

    You are blessed.

    Steve Moody
    +44 7908717081
    Stopsley Baptist Church
    St Thomas Road,
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    LU2 7XP
    United Kingdom

    • http://www.leesareneehall.com Leesa Renee Hall

      Thanks Jesus. I appreciate the additional info. It appears that the conference name is now “Surpassing Your Limits: Attaining the Unattainable.” And I can’t believe they dropped an author’s name in the invite, a one Jackie Pullinger MBE, author of ‘Chasing the Dragon’. I bet this author has no clue that his name is being used in this scam, just the unsuspecting churches and associations. This is completely and utterly ridiculous.

  • Pingback: Alert: UK Speaker Scam Targets Writers (and Others)

  • http://charliecurve.com Charlie Wollborg

    Received a similar email and thought it sounded fishy. The church and pastor checked out, but similarly, the event wasn’t listed on their calendar. A google search of the phone number lead me to your post. Here’s the full text of the email I received.
    - – - –
    Re: Speaking Engagement !
    From: Nigel Worth
    - – - -
    God’s blessing Charlie, We hope this message meets you in good health. I am Nigel Worth, Presiding Minister of the Hope Church Thetford, United Kingdom. On behalf of the Church, I am elated to inform you that we would love to engage your services to speak and educate the congregation at our upcoming Business-minded Christians Meeting coming up on the 8th of February 2013 and the Home Group Business Seminar on the 9th & 10th of February 2013.

    Please, we would gladly like for you to convey to us your availability for one of these dates(If not all) as it will well fit in your schedule. Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details.

    Thank you very much and expecting to hear from you soon.

    Remain Blessed.

    Nigel Worth
    +44 7908717081

    Hope Church Thetford
    Plot 34, Cage Lane,
    Thetford. IP24 2DS.
    Norfolk.
    United Kingdom

    In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.
    Genesis 22:18

    Fax: 0867107639

    • admin

      Thanks Charlie. I appreciate you sharing the details of the emails. The scam is the same, but the names keep changing.

  • http://www.ProductiveEnvironment.com Barbara Hemphill

    I received the same invitation from Nigel Worth
    +44 7908717081

    Hope Church Thetford
    Carnegie Room,
    Plot 34, Cage Lane,
    Thetford. IP24 2DS.
    Norfolk.
    United Kingdom
    http://www.hopechurchthetford.org

    • http://www.leesareneehall.com Leesa Renee Hall

      Thanks Barbara. Nigel Worth seems to be popping up quite a bit. Is the conference still the same? Big Things: How to Start Small?

    • Evelyn Clark

      I just received the same message from Nigel Worth today. The scammers are quick! I spoke to a Christian business group for the first time last Friday!! Nothing about it sounded legit, so I immediately did a Google search and found this discussion. Thank you, Leesa, for alerting everyone as to this specific one.

      • Leesa Renee Hall

        Evelyn, they are quick and they don’t let up. Our only weapon is alerting as many as possible that this is a scam. Be sure to point your friends who are speakers, coaches and trainers to this post.

  • http://twitter.com/Gursharn Gursharn Kandola

    Thank you for sharing this Leesa. Unbelievable how far people will go and just shows how careful we should all be – particularly when someone’s asking for personal information or money.

    And “soothe” vs. suit – hilarious!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rikki.arundel Rikki Arundel

    Speaking Engagement! Scam – I wish I had run a check on Google first – Just got hooked in to the same scam but stopped when they asked for money for the work permit. Now it’s a church in Cape Town – so the poor English did not seem out of place. There were plenty of clues though now that I look back though the extensive email correspondence especially the hidden email addresses. I checked with 6 speaker friends and the South African consulate in the UK as soon as the work permit issue came up and was assured that no work permits were required.

    I was also surprised at how easily I had become hooked into this. The fact that I really wanted to speak in South Africa on gender equality and that my partner has a passion for working on HIV projects which this church supports and that they were happy to pay for both our air fares and a good speaking fee all helped to hook us. I think the worst thing about this was the emotional damage when we realised that having had appropriate vaccinations for South Africa and re-organising my schedule – this was actually not happening.

    I have alerted so many people to scams in the past I feel a bit of a fool for being sucked in – but that’s the problem with speaking – I get a legitimate speaking inquiry every week out of the blue – just got another one today through a referral that I know s legit. I think the important maxim with these scams is “If it seems to good to be true – it probably is.”

    This is the intro email I received a week ago – also received by half a dozen speaker friends who were unable to make the dates so did not follow up:

    God’s blessing Rikki, We hope this message meets you in good health. I am MD Masangu, Presiding Minister of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, South Africa. On behalf of the Church, I am elated to inform you that we would love to engage your services to speak and educate the congregation towards leadership at our upcoming Church seminar coming up on the 22nd, 23rd & 24th of March 2013.

    Please, we would gladly like for you to convey to us your availability for one of these dates(If not all) as it will well fit in your schedule.

    Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding the details.

    Thank you very much and expecting to hear from you soon.
    Remain Blessed.

    Reverend MD Masangu
    +27 74597057
    Evangelical Presbyterian Church
    12 Waterval Crescent South,
    Western Cape,
    Cape Town. 7100–7299
    South Africa.

    Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
    Psalm 33:12 ESV / 24
    Fax: 0867107639

    • http://twitter.com/leesareneehall Leesa Renee Hall

      Rikki, do not feel fooled! Look at me – I’m supposed to be a money coach and even I got suckered into this very scam. But there are 2 things that you must be proud about – 1) that you’re still strong enough to share this experience to help others avoid the same fate and 2) you did not part with your hard earned money. You did well and this experience only makes you stronger and wiser. You’re an overcomer my dear.

  • Guest

    Hello! I held my hand over my open mouth as I read through your blog above. I am a speaker in South Africa but could have written your exact words myself – except for the church and people’s names, and the date is over a year later. I too sent all my details but my inner disquiet stopped me from paying any money (YAY for intuition!) – also confirming things by checking the church’s PROPER website and seeing no such event appear. I just thought I’d add my comment hear with the names they used with me, in case it pops up when someone else is doing a check – your blog is brilliantly helpful – I only wish I’d thought to check it sooner.

    Emmanuel Church
    Richard Hagan, Presiding Minister of the Emmanuel Church Canterbury, UK

    Graham Benjamin – Events Committee

    Melissa Shelby – UK Border Agency

    I have also since received similar letters from an old age home in Canada (fundraising) and today from Pastor Nelson Albert of the St John Anglican Church, UK.

  • Guest

    Hello! I held my hand over my open mouth as I read through your blog
    above. I am a speaker in South Africa but could have written your
    exact words myself – except for the church and people’s names, and the
    date is over a year later. I too sent all my details but my inner
    disquiet stopped me from paying any money (YAY for intuition!) – also
    confirming things by checking the church’s PROPER website and seeing no
    such event appear. I just thought I’d add my comment hear with the
    names they used with me, in case it pops up when someone else is doing a
    check – your blog is brilliantly helpful – I only wish I’d thought to
    check it sooner.

    Emmanuel Church
    Richard Hagan, Presiding Minister of the Emmanuel Church Canterbury, UK

    Graham Benjamin – Events Committee

    Melissa Shelby – UK Border Agency

    I
    have also since received similar letters from an old age home in Canada
    (fundraising) and today from Pastor Nelson Albert of the St John
    Anglican Church, UK.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AlisonABC Alison Botha

    Hello! I held my hand over my open mouth as I read through your blog
    above. I am a speaker in South Africa but could have written your
    exact words myself – except for the church and people’s names, and the
    date is over a year later. I too sent all my details but my inner
    disquiet stopped me from paying any money (YAY for intuition!) – also
    confirming things by checking the church’s PROPER website and seeing no
    such event appear. I just thought I’d add my comment here with the
    names they used, in case your page pops up when someone else is doing a
    check – your blog is brilliantly helpful – I only wish I’d thought to
    check it sooner.

    Emmanuel Church
    Richard Hagan, Presiding Minister of the Emmanuel Church Canterbury, UK

    Graham Benjamin – Events Committee

    Melissa Shelby – UK Border Agency

    I have also since received similar letters from an old age home in Canada
    (fundraising) and today from Pastor Nelson Albert of the St John
    Anglican Church, UK.!!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/leesareneehall Leesa Renee Hall

      Alison, thanks for sharing. And I’d LOVE to see the emails listing the old age home in Canada, plus the one from the St. John Anglican church. Can you email them to wecare at leesareneehall dot com?

  • http://www.rosettathurman.com/ Rosetta Thurman

    So glad I found your post, Leesa. I was just targeted by another variation of this scam a few days ago. Here is the email for prosperity and Google juice:

    From:
    First Name: Enoch
    Last Name: Adeboye
    rccg.online1@gmail.com

    Purpose of Message:
    Speaking Invitation

    Message:
    God’s blessing Rosetta, We hope this message meets you in good health.
    I am Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer Of Redeemed Christian
    Church of God (RCCG), Ogun State, Nigeria. On behalf of the Church, I
    am elated to inform you that we would love to engage your services to
    speak and educate the congregation towards leadership at our upcoming
    Church seminar coming up on the 5th, 6th & 7th of December 2013. The
    conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.

    Please, we would gladly like for you to convey to us your availability
    for one of these dates(If not all) as it will well fit in your
    schedule.

    Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get in-touch with us
    in ample time so we can start corresponding the details.

    Thank you very much and expecting to hear from you soon.
    Remain Blessed.

    Pastor Enoch Adeboye
    +2348132623853
    Redeem Christian Church Of God
    Km 46 Lagos Ibadan Expressway,
    Redemption Camp,
    Mowe
    Ogun State,23402
    Nigeria.
    http://www.rccg.org/
    Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has
    chosen as his heritage!
    Psalm 33:12 ESV / 24

    • http://www.leesareneehall.com/ Leesa Renee Hall

      Thank you for providing an updated invitation letter. Hopefully, this will prevent others from falling victim to this old scam.