UK Work Permit Church Scam for Speakers

Speaker Scam

UK Speaker SCAM: Church and/or University in the UK looking for a keynote speaker for an upcoming leadership workshop; Tier 5 Work Permit fees required via Western Union. Here’s the full story:

On May 15, 2012, I was solicited by a church in the UK (via my website) to speak at their upcoming leadership workshop. A series of emails went back and forth, containing various details and expectations. In order to speak there, I would need a Tier 5 Work Permit from the UK Border Agency and because the event was quickly approaching, I was introduced by email to someone at the parish who works for the UK Border Agency and can get expedited processing for my application.

I was emailed an official 52-page PDF application for a Tier 5 Work Permit with specific instructions on how to fill it out. The form is legitimate and you can find documentation online confirming that only a UK employer can submit such an application. Once I had filled it out and gotten passport photos made, I was asked to send 583 GBP via Western Union so she could submit the application and pay the fee in cash.

They said they had a sponsor and offered to pay me $10,000 USD as a speaking fee, along with all travel expenses. This seems high for a church but does fall within my standard fee structure (at least for domestic events), so it didn’t seem too unusual at the time. Here are all the names and email addresses of the people I communicated with:

  1. Reverend Michael Silver rev.michaelsilver@gmail.com
  2. Reverend Brian Moody revbrianmoody199@gmail.com
  3. Reverend Phil Dunning revphildunning@gmail.com
  4. Edward Smith eechurch@hotmail.com
  5. Patricia Coleman UK Border Agency p.coleman@workmail.com (real name verified by Western Union)
  6. Susan Aires Dransfield Novelty Company dransfieldnoveltyco@london.com
  7. Phylis Kamps 321-200-1024 (mobile)

Here is a blog post that details how these same people have done this dozens of times since 2010. At the time of this writing there are 94 comments on their post and I will be adding my own shortly. I have included a number of emails below so you can get an idea of how these people communicate.

Email #1: Initial Solicitation

Name: Rev.Michael Silver
Email: rev.michaelsilver@gmail.com

Message: I am Reverend Michael Silver , presiding Minister of the Emmanuel Evangelical (Baptist) Chapel, Newport, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would like to engage you to speak at our Church Lunch event here in Newport coming up on the 1st of June and we are also arranging our ‘Leadership development Program’ workshop on the 2nd & 3rd of June 2012.

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
Reverend Michael Silver
+447031873786
Emmanuel Evangelical (Baptist) Chapel,
Rutland Place,
Newport,
NP20 2EL,
Wales.
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.

Email #2: Initial Request for Money

Good day Patrick, I understand that you are Emmanuel Evangelical Church’s guest for their upcoming conference, Edward Smith informed me earlier, I have undergone this process for their guests in the past as well prior to this time as well so below are the details.

I have undergone this process for people prior to this time as well so below are the details. (It is a pity though that you do not have your Swiss passort intact and up-to-date as you would have been waived for this fee).

Our Government (United Kingdom) Main Application Fee for a UK work permit is £488 and £95 for homeland fee making an overall sum of £583, You should understand that as a United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand & European citizens holding their international passport, entrance permits are at a reduced fee at rate given above, other nationalities pay more. I will do the application and payment in your name at our Consulate and send you necessary binding documents.

Usually, It takes between 1-14 weeks to get a permit depending on the category such permit may fall into, But if we process expressly and I append the application as a staff it will take just about one week and a maximum of two weeks give or take some delays in courier or so since it is categorized as ‘ministerial/religious’ under the UK Tier 5 work permit, It will take a week and a few days to process. If you are ready to proceed (which I advise you should) We would as well need you to send to us the below stated documents.

Full Name of applicant:
Passport Number:
invitation Letter from Sponsor:

Now, you will have to make the application fees payment and I will later send you the official UK TIER 5 WORK PERMIT FORM and the UKBA SCREENING FORM as an allied country citizen you do not need to fill the immigration assessment form as you are already eligible. We might only need your thumbprints at the United kingdom border on entry into the UK.

Please, be swift with your response because you know documents after been processed by the UK immigration might delay a bit, give or take 2-3days, It would be advisable you start processes a bit ahead of time.

Have a Wonderful day.

Patricia Coleman.
United Kingdom Border Agency.
N.A.

p.coleman@workmail.com
790-871-7081

Email #3: Second Request for Money

Good Morning Reverend, Deacon Edward, At the start of work today, I was notified by the issuing dept. that Patrick’s work permit cannot be issued out as yet, Non-Briton Immigrants coming into the United Kingdom and taking up a legally paid job will need to secure their stay with a bond otherwise referred to as a repatriation fee, And since Patrick falls under such category as she is non-British immigrant, The Home office has required that such applicants pay a refundable sum of 2,500GBP as a ‘Bond’ to enact their stay. As soon as they get back to their respective countries, the fee will be paid back to them in full. This law has been in the books for a while but it wasn’t effective for a long time now, But the new excos at the Consul has decreed it should be applicable and be 100% effective henceforth 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 make the payments asap since you have advised that time is of essence in this application. I will forward to you the ‘bond holding letter’ in the name of the applicant which is Patrick, he will be able to claim the funds at the USA Consul when he gets back home.

Warren Germain already sent me the funds for his bond, He will get the documents today, I have forwarded to him the fedex tracking number so he could monitor as well (Just informing you).

Reverend, Edward, send the funds to me on Patrick’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 he is back in the USA the bond will be liquidated and you will negotiate on how to have the funds back.

PLEASE REPLY SOONEST !!!

Patricia Coleman.
United Kingdom Border Agency.
N.A.

ukba.patriciacoleman@workmail.com
790-871-7081

Final Notes

It should be noted that there were well over 50 or 60 emails involved in this process, involving Reverend Michael Silver, Edward Smith and Patricia Coleman. Many details were discussed. I was even sent a hotel confirmation at the Park Plaza Cardiff (Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AL, United Kingdom) along the way. So the whole thing appeared completely legitimate at the time. I would even say it was more organized than other events I have spoken at.

So, what can I say? They got me. I’m embarrassed. In the end, it’s not that big of a deal. The money transfer cost me $1048 USD (Western Union is a rip-off) so it’s not really that much money, but that’s not the point.

My speaking career has taken me to every major city in the USA and cities across Canada and Mexico, as well as destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. I get many solicitations that seem “too good to be true” so I can’t really filter on that criteria. Here are the red flags which I ignored:

  1. Public email addresses only (gmail, hotmail and workmail).
  2. No mention of the leadership workshop on the church’s website.
  3. I was requested to send money urgently to an individual.

When I was invited to speak in India, I had to get a VISA first and it cost me $160 USD, but I made those arrangements directly with the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. So my learning point is that I will NEVER send money to an individual again.

I have filed a complaint with Western Union but have heard they can’t do much. It doesn’t really make sense to me. The person who picks up the funds has to show identification verifying their identity. That means there must be something the authorities can track. But who’s going to hunt that down? Anyway, if anything comes of it, I will update this post.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that the recipient DID pick up the funds in the UK. So I’m sure Patricia Coleman actually exists and I’m also sure she was in the UK on May 29, 2012.

Did this scam happen to you?

If you have had a similar experience, please tell your story in the comments below. I am publishing this post to hopefully help other speakers avoid this situation in the future. Thank you.
 

133 Comments

  1. I just got an email like this today. I was suspicious, googled the church name, and found your post. Thanks for detailing your experience.

  2. Was pretty sure it was a scam, but you just confirmed it! My email was from a university, but the rest of the details are the same. email was coventryuniversityseminar@gmail.com. There is a Justin Cobb (no s), a Dr. at a different University and Coventry University. Just no Dr. Cobbs at Coventry. They found me on a website where I was a guest on a radio show. My first clue was that a surgeon in the UK had a poor command of the English language.

    Subject: COVENTRY UNIVERSITY SEMINAR 2014.

    Respected Peggy Harper Lee,

    I am Dr Justin Cobbs from the Coventry University Campus Here in
    London UK. We want you to be our guest Speaker at this Year Coventry
    University Seminar which will take place here in UK. We are writing to
    invite and confirm your booking to be our guest Speaker at this year’s
    event.

    Coventry University London Campus.

    The Venue as follows:
    VENUE: Coventry University London Campus,
    East India House, 109-117 Middlesex Street, London.
    Postcode: E1 7JF
    Expected audience: 850 people
    Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Organization: Coventry University London Campus.
    Topic: ”HEALTHY LIVING”
    Date: 4th February 2014

    We came across your profile on http://www.marnie.com/ and we say it’s
    up to standard and be very glad to have such an outstanding
    personality in our mist for these overwhelming gathering. Arrangements
    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 us.

    A formal Letter of invitation and Contract agreement 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 Speaking
    Fee. If you will be available for our event, state your speaking fees
    In your email so it can be included in your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.

    Stay Blessed.

    Dr Justin Cobbs
    Coventry University Seminar.

  3. Thank you for your post. I had just receive a similar invitation from UK. I new it was scam but I reply and also contacted the true church and Pastor, I give them the information so maybe they can contact authorities and get this people out of business.
    Again Thanks…

  4. Got email today…wow!

    I am Dr Justin Cobbs from the Coventry University Campus Here in
    London UK. We want you to be our guest Speaker at this Year Coventry
    University Seminar which will take place here in UK. We are writing to
    invite and confirm your booking to be our guest Speaker at this year’s
    event.

    Coventry University London Campus.

    The Venue as follows:
    VENUE: Coventry University London Campus,
    East India House, 109-117 Middlesex Street, London.
    Postcode: E1 7JF
    Expected audience: 850 people
    Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Organization: Coventry University London Campus.
    Topic: ”HEALTHY LIVING”
    Date: 4th February 2014

    We came across your profile on http://www.marnie.com/ and we say it’s
    up to standard and be very glad to have such an outstanding
    personality in our mist for these overwhelming gathering. Arrangements
    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 us.

    A formal Letter of invitation and Contract agreement 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 Speaking
    Fee. If you will be available for our event, state your speaking fees
    In your email so it can be included in your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.

    Stay Blessed.

    Dr Justin Cobbs
    Coventry University Seminar.

    Tel: + 44 703 193 7157

  5. I just got this email today!! Thought it was a scam.. your page confirmed it! Thank you so much!!

  6. The scam continues in 2014 – I just today received the one from “Dr Justin Cobb” at Coventry University. It sounded fishy to me, but your post only confirmed what I suspected – thank you for sharing your experience as a lesson and warning to others! Sue B

  7. Just received the same email. It indicated the speakers bureau in which I am listed, so it sounded legitimate at first. Glad I saw your page.

  8. I got this email too. I replied originally with my speaking fee of $4,333 and they agreed immediately, sent me this lame one page contract that I did not return because I wanted to investigate first. The guy even called me a few days ago saying the woman from the British Embassy was trying to get ahold of me. I emailed her three times and never got a reply so I told him that.

    I asked him how much the work permit was and he said it was $1800. I told him I would have to investigate that more because I have heard of UK work permit scams going on. He said a bunch of Christian type things, obviously preying on that because he knows I came from a Christian Speaker’s website. Before I spoke to him on the phone, he immediately would respond to my emails but after I spoke to him and mentioned the scams I heard of, he never once would respond to my emails. I went online to research this and found this page. Thanks so much for, I will not pursue this anymore. This is the person and email that I got as well: Dr Justin Cobbs from the Coventry University Campus and his email (which raised flags from day 1 since it was a gmail email and not from the University…. Justin Cobbs this is the email….

    I am Dr Justin Cobbs from the Coventry University Campus Here in London UK. We want you to be our guest Speaker at this Year Coventry University Seminar which will take place here in UK. We are writing to invite and confirm your booking to be our guest Speaker at this year’s event.

    Coventry University London Campus.

    The Venue as follows:
    VENUE: Coventry University London Campus, East India House, 109-117 Middlesex Street, London.
    Postcode: E1 7JF
    Expected audience: 850 people
    Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Organization: Coventry University London Campus.
    Topic: ”HEALTHY LIVING”
    Date: 4th February 2014

    We came across your profile on http://www.marnie.com/ and we say it’s up to standard and be very glad to have such an outstanding personality in our mist for these overwhelming gathering. Arrangements 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 us.

    A formal Letter of invitation and Contract agreement 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 Speaking Fee. If you will be available for our event, state your speaking fees In your email so it can be included in your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.

    Stay Blessed.

    Dr Justin Cobbs
    Coventry University Seminar.

    Tel: + 44 703 193 7157

  9. I was contacted two days ago with the same story—seminar in South Africa, etc.—supposedly sent by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the successor to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I am, in fact, an author, and my book, Saving Civility, has quotes from Archbishop Tutu interspersed within the text, which is how, I thought , my name might have been passed along. At first, I was rather giddy with excitement. Since I also am an Anglican here in the States, I even offered to speak free of charge, if my travel expenses were reimbursed. When I received a response a few hours later with all of the details, I was informed that I would be paid $20,000 USD, plus my expenses. At that point, I became very suspicious. There were also a lot of misspellings and missing words within the text of the e-mail. I tried to telephone the office of the Archbishop in South Africa—via Skype—this morning, but the call would immediately cut off. (The phone number provided—which I traced through reverse phone lookup—was, in fact, a mobile phone. Returning home just a bit ago, I decided to Google the name of the seminar event and discovered this website, which, not surprisingly, reveals the this is a SCAM! Obviously, I am not responding to any more e-mails from this bogus organization. BEWARE, as this is occurring beyond the borders of the U.K.

  10. Patrick, I received the Coventry University Seminar/ Dr. Justin Cobbs letter on 1/27/14 also. I ignored it because a Ph.D. in an English speaking country typically can speak English without elementary school type flaws. The letter did cite an organization in which I’m a member as its source for finding me.

    Regardless, instinct said something was off. Today, I began seeking to determine why and found your note. I think it’s wonderful that you disclosed this. Looking at this listing in the comments section, you’ve spared a lot of people.

    Blessings.

  11. Hi All – so Happy I found this site! Thank you Patrick for posting your story, and I am sorry to see that they scammed you.

    I received a similar request from “Hillsong Church” in South Africa. The initial request came through my keynote speaker website and was very similar to the ones the rest of you received. I speak all over the world, and found nothing unusual – until they asked for money to be sent Western Union. I immediately called the South African Consulate and learned that US Citizens do not need work permits. I then received a BS excuse why this was not the case, and the “home office” needed this money quickly.

    I’ve since ignored them, but they keep asking. Fortunately, I’m not out any money, just wasted time.

    Here is the latest email request if someone would like to respond to them directly with a few choice words or virtual middle finger :) Note below that they use a simple spoof to mask the actual email address (workmail.com) with one that seems to come from the South African government. That is one clue – the actual address will show when you reply. When conducting my diligence I also noted that no one named Linda Jacoline actually works at the home office.

    Feel free to email me if you’d like to further commiserate: eric@ericoneill.net.

    *********************************************************************

    From: linda.jacoline@dha.gov.za
    Date: Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM
    Subject: Re: Work Permit.
    To: Eric ONeill

    Hello Mr. O’Neill, I am still waiting to receive the payment information I have received the letter of recommendation from the Church today and earl documents are in order for submission.
    Please advice,


    Linda Jacoline
    Department of Home Affairs, RSA.
    N.A.

    linda.jacoline@home-affairs.gov.za
    070 240 78258 ext 45

  12. Total Scam. So sad! Marnie

  13. I really wanted to tell them how excited I was to be offered such an honor…and so in preparation I would like to send money ahead and have it already there to take in a little extra travel while in country…”so please send me your bank account number and all necessary ID numbers so I can deposit and make withdrawals from your account.”

  14. This is crazy! I thank all of you for posting your experiences because it saved me. I received the same offer and letter from pastor Nigel brown from potters house Christian center in UK. 3 red flags. Could not find his wife Rebecca 2 he called from a Missouri number as his international number and 3 most churches websites are .org not gmail. The committee never called that had the meeting only the pastor. Thanks again for your posts.

    Where do you report these scam?

  15. I got the same one – plus another one from India that was soliciting me to speak on behalf of their orphans home. Both came within the past week.

    Jackie

  16. Yep, the bad command of English and the gmail address clued me but here is what I am going to do. I am going to play along, tell them I need 5,000 up front to reserve the date especially on such short notice. Lets see what they do. Here is my email posted below. Amazing!
    INVITATION FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Dear Adria,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, My Name is Pastor
    Nelson Albert from the First Baptist Church we are writing to Invite
    you to be our guest Speaker at the up Coming First Baptist Church 2014
    Anniversary which is taking place here In UK England, We are writing
    to invite and confirm your booking to be our Guest Speaker at up
    Coming First Baptist Church 2014 Anniversary. Other Ministers Of God
    are coming from Different part of the World. The Venue as follows:

    DATE: 21th September 2014
    VENUE: London SW16 4QQ England,
    Website: http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com/
    Email: Firstbaptistchurchengland@gmail.com
    Expected audience: 300 people Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Church/Organization
    Host: PASTOR NELSON ALBERT
    Topic: LEADERSHIP MARRIAGE COMMUNICATION COMEDY
    Theme: TIME OF FULFILLMENT
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING OF AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD’S AND BOOKS: ALLOWED.
    TELEPHONE: + 44 704 205 6151

    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 are Sorry about our late invitation
    it is due to the fact that our Speaker had back out because of her
    sudden illness.

    We came across your profile on http://adriafirestone.com/ The lord has
    direct us to email you for this assignment. Isaiah 48:17 said I am the
    Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, The lord has
    direct us to email you for this assignment. and we say it’s up to
    standard and we will be very glad to have such an outstanding
    personality in our 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 or invitation.
    If you have any more publicity Material, please do not hesitate to
    contact us. We are taking care of your traveling and Hotel
    Accommodation expenses including our Speaker fees you are bless as you
    honor this invitation it is a pleasure writing you.

    May God Bless you as you honor this invitation.

    In His Services,

    Pastor Nelson Albert
    First Baptist Church
    TELEPHONE: + 44 704 205 6151

  17. Thank you so much for your post. I was contacted yesterday. Something about it didn’t feel right. I was praying and decided to Google my contact name, etc. And that’s when I found your post. Thank you!

  18. We have to stick together and be smart! Glad my warning help. Happy to be of service. Best of luck with all the REAL jobs that will come our way!
    Adria

  19. Dear Adria,

    I apparently look forward to seeing you in the UK in September. Perhaps we should approach him as colleagues, and say we will work together for a reduced fee – say, 10,000 for the both of us. Plus expenses.

    Here is my invitation…It seems Isaiah has been busier than usual this July.

    Still, I, too, Googled every possible Baptist Church in the UK, the pastor, etc. and came up totally empty. Their “website” was listed as “blocked” by Firefox.

    Thanks for the head’s up.

    Wayne

    &&&&

    SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Dear Wayne,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, My
    Name is Pastor Nelson Albert from the First
    Baptist Church we are writing to Invite you to be
    our guest Speaker at the up Coming First Baptist
    Church 2014 Anniversary which is taking place here
    In UK England, We are writing to invite and
    confirm your booking to be our Guest Speaker at up
    Coming First Baptist Church 2014 Anniversary.
    Other Ministers Of God are coming from Different
    part of the World. The Venue as follows:

    DATE: 21th November 2014
    VENUE: London SW16 4QQ England,
    Website: http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com/
    Email: Firstbaptistchurchengland@gmail.com
    Expected audience: 300 people Duration of speech
    per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Church/Organization
    Host: PASTOR NELSON ALBERT
    Topic: LEADERSHIP MARRIAGE COMMUNICATION COMEDY
    Theme: TIME OF FULFILLMENT
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING OF AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD\’S AND BOOKS: ALLOWED.
    TELEPHONE: + 44 704 205 6151

    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 are Sorry about our late invitation
    it is due to the fact that our Speaker had back
    out because of her sudden illness.

    We came across your profile on
    http://www.waynemuller.com/ The lord has direct us
    to email you for this assignment. Isaiah 48:17
    said I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what
    is best for you, The lord has direct us to email
    you for this assignment. and we say it\’s up to
    standard and we will be very glad to have such an
    outstanding personality in our 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 or invitation. If you have
    any more publicity Material, please do not
    hesitate to contact us. We are taking care of your
    traveling and Hotel Accommodation expenses
    including our Speaker fees you are bless as you
    honor this invitation it is a pleasure writing
    you.

    May God Bless you as you honor this invitation.

    In His Services,

    Pastor Nelson Albert
    First Baptist Church
    TELEPHONE: + 44 704 205 6151

  20. Thank you. Received an email from them for my pastor, and something just didn’t sit right with me. I started researching it, and bam! It’s scam. Thank you for posting.

  21. I was perusing my email for the final time tonight and received an email from my author client’s contact form on her website. I was about to respond {she wouldn’t be able to attend anyway}, but thought to check online first.

    Glad I did!

    Name: Pastor Nelson Albert
    Email: Firstbaptistchurchengland@gmail.com
    Website: http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com/
    Comment: INVITATION FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Dear Rachael,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, My Name is Pastor Nelson Albert from the First Baptist Church we are writing to Invite you to be our guest Speaker at the up Coming First Baptist Church 2014 Anniversary which is taking place here In UK England, We are writing to invite and confirm your booking to be our Guest Speaker at up Coming First Baptist Church 2014 Anniversary. Other Ministers Of God are coming from Different part of the World. The Venue as follows:

    DATE: 21th November 2014
    VENUE: London SW16 4QQ England,
    Website: http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com/
    Email: Firstbaptistchurchengland@gmail.com
    Expected audience: 300 people Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Church/Organization
    Host: PASTOR NELSON ALBERT
    Topic: LEADERSHIP MARRIAGE COMMUNICATION COMEDY
    Theme: TIME OF FULFILLMENT
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING OF AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD’S AND BOOKS: ALLOWED.
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

    We came across your profile on http://rachelvandykenauthor.com The lord has direct us to email you for this assignment. Isaiah 48:17 said I am them Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, The lord has direct us to email you for this assignment. and we say it’s up to standard and we will be very glad to have such an outstanding personality in our 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 or invitation. If you have any more publicity Material, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are taking care of your traveling and Hotel Accommodation expenses including our Speaker fees you are bless as you honor this invitation it is a pleasure writing you.

    May God Bless you as you honor this invitation.

    In His Services,

    Pastor Nelson Albert
    First Baptist Church
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

  22. Hi there,

    I received a very similar email today. I’ll paste it below. First, the red flags…

    1. A church with an email address at gmail.com (Amazinggracechurch38@gmail.com). No rev@church.org email?
    2. A number in the email address. Couldn’t they at least get their proper name?
    3. Their address- “Wilmot,close……Exmouth..Devon” No actual address, just a close proximity.
    4. The venue “Amazing Grace Church 2014 Anniversary”. But it takes place in June of 2015?
    5. Their website was “frozen” and it was a free website from webs.com (http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com). Surely a church that can afford to hire public speakers from around the world has $12 for a domain name.
    6. Although I am a Christian, my public speaking is about safe city driving, and trucking in the US. There is nothing motivational or Christian on my public speaking page.

    And then I found this page. Thank you for posting it.

    I also found this poor guy who has it on his itinerary- http://writingforthelord.com/events-calendar.html (I emailed him and explained he had likely been taken as well.)

    The good news is, I didn’t pay or even respond. Here is the actual email below…

    Rev Philip Hanks
    Wilmot,close……Exmouth..Devon..
    ex8,4bx….England
    Amazing Grace Church
    Email: Amazinggracechurch38@Gmail.com
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

    LETTER OF SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Dear Ken,

    A blessed day to you and your family, My Name is Rev Philip Hanks from
    the Amazing Grace Church, We are pleased to invite you to the up
    Coming Amazing Grace Church 2014 Anniversary which is taking place
    here In UK England, We are writing to invite and confirm your booking
    to be our Guest Speaker at the up Coming Amazing Grace Church 2014
    Anniversary. Other Ministers Of God are coming from Different part of
    the World. The Venue as follows:

    DATE: 5th June 2015
    VENUE: Wilmot,close……Exmouth..Devon..ex8,4bx….England
    Website: http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com/
    Email: Amazinggracechurch38@gmail.com
    Expected audience: 250 people Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Church/Organization
    Host: REV PHILIP HANKS
    Topic: INSPIRATION HEALTH COMMUNICATION COMEDY
    Theme: TIME OF FULFILLMENT
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING OF AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD’S AND BOOKS: ALLOWED.
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

    We came across your profile on http://kenskaggs.com/ The lord has
    direct us to email you for this assignment. Isaiah 48:17 said I am
    them Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, The lord has
    direct us to email you for this assignment. and we say it’s up to
    standard and we will be very glad to have such an outstanding
    personality in our for these overwhelming gathering. With your Multi
    talented speech more lives will come close to GOD. Arrangement to If
    you have any more publicity Material, please do not hesitate to
    contact us. We are taking care of your traveling and Hotel
    Accommodation expenses including our Speaker fees you are bless as you
    honor this invitation it is a pleasure writing you.

    May God Bless you as you honor this invitation.

    In His Services,

    Rev Philip Hanks
    Wilmot,close……Exmouth..Devon..
    ex8,4bx….England
    Amazing Grace Church
    Email: Amazinggracechurch38@Gmail.com
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

  23. They almost fooled me too. I did a search and found your article. Glad I did. Thanks.

  24. Hi Ken,

    Amazing isn’t it? Glad we are spreading news of this fraud everywhere. Passs it on to all you know. I even put it on FaceBook.
    Glad to be of help

    Adria

  25. I was sent an email today 9-17-2014

  26. I got this too! I knew instantly it was a scam since, a) someone in England would use better grammar and b) since I write forensic murder mysteries, the idea that a church would want me to talk about leadership seemed pretty bizarre. But I’m going to string them along for as long as I can.

  27. Adria Firestone & Linda Jacobs

    I received a very similar letter for an event on June 5th, 2015. The contact person was Pastor Phillip Hanks.

    At first, I questioned them contacting me. Then I received a letter today telling me I would be speaking to 200 congregations. The e-mail also mentioned a UK Worker Visa. He also sent a contract. The church is called Amazing Grace Church. But, I could not locate any info on it – and nothing about the event. The event link in my e-mail was a dead link.

    At first I was excited. Now, I am not so sure.

    Interesting

    Ron Orendi

  28. Hey Ron,

    Its a scam. There is no Amazing Grace Church they sent the same thing to me . The pastor’s name was different. The scam is to get money for the non-existent work visa. Beware! These are scammers.

    Adria

  29. The scam has made it to Australia too! I received an email from supposedly Archbishop Thabo Makgoba offeing me an opportunity to speak in South Africa. I was slightly suspicious at first but there was enough in it for me to respond with a few non-committal questions. The second response was very detailed, much better written and quite convincing. I am an explorer, author, educator and speaker whose previous expedition was cycling west to east across Africa (Senegal to Somalia), exploring the causes and effects of extreme poverty, so what ‘Makgoba’ was proposing was an exciting opportunity for me. Although some family and friends thought it was legitimate, I didn’t quite trust it because the writing was not good enough from someone who is an academic and a man of words, they’d initially mentioned it was to speak at a seminar in early December, then I said I could be available in mid-December and they responded that the conference would be from 13-15th Dec and I thought they should have said this at first. They were offering $US15K + expenses. He’d also said that he’d been reading my blogs, but when I checked Google Analytics, there were no significant hits from South Africa that would have allowed him time to read my blogs. I asked to speak on Skype as I thought that way I could verify that it was him. ‘He’gave me a new phone number which is meant to be his personal mobile. I haven’t responded to this message.

    My experience looks to be very similar to Sara Hacala’s earlier this year. Anyway, I’ve just worked it out (even though I had not been asked for money – yet). I wish it were true as it would have been a huge career opportunity, but of course pleased that I have rumbled the scam.

  30. Just a quick note. I have been working with an international keynote speaker for 9 years. 99% of the time inquiries do not lead with an money offer up front. Usually that is a good indicator. Another is if they use a gmail account, although some of our clients use one, it isn’t common. And finally if they ask you for money to pay for a VISA or whatever you know it is a hoax. The US has a treaty with quite a few countries so ones like England don’t require a VISA. Africa does of course.

  31. I just received this solicitation, but I immediately smelled a scam, as I am an avowedly agnostic science-fiction writer.

    Here is the typo-laden e-mail I received (in which the sender misspelled even their own name in the “from” field). The virtual absence of punctuation, coupled with the atrocious grammar and spelling, triggered my scam warning right off the bat. Rest assured, I will be spreading the word among my circle of the publishing world to look out for these jerks.

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: INVITATION FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
    Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2014 02:20:41 +0100
    From: First baptish Church
    To: —–@——

    INVITATION FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

    Dear David,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, My Name is Rev Todd
    Jason from the First Baptist Church we are writing to Invite you to be
    our guest Speaker at the up Coming First Baptist Church 2015
    Convention which is taking place here In UK England, We are writing to
    invite and confirm your booking to be our Guest Speaker at up Coming
    First Baptist Church 2015 Convention. Other Ministers Of God are
    coming from Different part of the World. The Venue as follows:

    DATE: 10th Match 2015
    VENUE: London AE16 4QQ England,
    Website: http://www.amazing-gracechurch.webs.com/
    Email: Firstbaptistchurchengland@gmail.com
    Expected audience: 300 people Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
    Name of Church/Organization
    Host: REV TODD JASON
    Topic: LEADERSHIP MARRIAGE COMMUNICATION COMEDY
    Theme: TIME OF FULFILLMENT
    REFERENCE: EVENT BROCHURE
    SIGNING OF AUTOGRAPH: ALLOWED
    SELLING OF CD’S AND BOOKS: ALLOWED.
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

    We came across your profile on http://www.infinitydog.com/ Isaiah
    48:17 said I am them Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for
    you. The spirit lord of God has direct us to email you for this
    assignment and we say it’s up to standard and we will be very glad to
    have such an outstanding personality in our for these overwhelming
    gathering. Arrangement to welcome you here will be discussed as soon
    as you honor this invitation.If you have any more publicity Material,
    please do not hesitate to contact us. We are taking care of your
    traveling Meal and Hotel Accommodation expenses including your
    Honorarium fees you are bless as you honor this invitation it is a
    pleasure writing you.

    May God Bless you as you honor this invitation.

    In His Services,

    Rev Todd Jason
    First Baptist Church
    TELEPHONE: + 44-795-276-3257

  32. SCAMMER: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

    1) Like Sarah and Kate (above) Thabo offered my colleague $15,000 USD for a 60-90 minute talk–then upped it to $18,000 to speak each of the three days. This included business class flights, and two very nice hotel rooms at the Cape Royale in Cape Town, South Africa.

    2) Thabo passed me to the Director of the conference, Edward Smart . He sent me a Letter of Invitation and an agreement to sign, BUT we had to have a “work permit.”

    3) linda.jacoline-homeoffice@workmail.com is their “Inside” gal at the department that gives “Work Permits.” She asked me to render fee payment to get permit via “Western Union.” This request killed the deal.

    Below are the details to send money via Western Union.

    First Name: Virginia
    Last Name: Mahole
    Address: D F Malan Driveway East
    City: Pretoria West,
    Country : South Africa.

    4) Now I am having fun with them by scamming the scammer. I am keeping them on the hook making them jump through a ton hoops to get me to do what they want.

    This project is therapeutic for me.

  33. Let be straight here please, we are all pastors here, but we are the architect of these things, because our love for me money will never make us check on the e mail just because the money is high, if it was free we will never respond to it, these guys will never stop scamming us if we dont desist from being lovers of money and not doing the will of GOD..and i will like to say God save those who serve him in truth. Thznk you

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Alert: UK Speaker Scam Targets Writers (and Others) - [...] the balance right away. My own guess was travel fees. In reality, it's fake work permit fees. …
  2. Fons Tuinstra's home » Speakers’ scam – repeated warning - [...] Almost a year ago the author Patrick Schwerdtfeger published his story about a religious UK based scam, trying to get money …
  3. Don't fall for this scam - Alan Rudnick - […] They want money No speaking conference is going to ask for money upfront. I learned that this scam is common and …

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