National Fraud Prevention Month: What I Learned from the Jarrow Speaking Scam

It’s National Fraud Prevention Month as declared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Government of Canada. After almost becoming a victim of a speaking scam, I’d like to share my thoughts on how you can spot a scam so you’re not a victim.

1. Separate yourself from the situation

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to fall for the charm of the scammer. They seem helpful, empathetic and professional. Get off the phone or leave your computer quickly. Take a walk, take a showever, anything so you can separate yourself from the spell being cast on you.

My dad tells people who call him that he has to check with his board of directors before he makes a decision (and then hangs up the phone). His board of directors are me and my 2 sisters. In his mind, if he wants something, he’ll go out and get it. He doesn’t need someone calling him to tell him what he needs. Take on my dad’s mindset and you’ll be safe.

2. Talk to a family member or trusted friend

Don’t make your decision in isolation. Speak to someone about what you’re going to do. When I chatted to my mom about the speaking scam, she made a wise comment. She said “Leesa, when you usually speak overseas, you typically tell me months in advance. This one seems so quick.” She was right. Reputable event planners start organizing their events at least a year.

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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

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
St Paul’s Church,
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.

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