"I have Bibles here in the warehouse, and the warehouse is due for moving. How many Bibles do you want?"
One day, Brother M received a strange phone call, eager to donate the Bibles. The woman then said, "If you want more, you can drive a car here for a full load of it."
"But I don't have a car," he replied.
"Then send me some travel expenses. How about 2,000 yuan, and I'll handle the rest by myself?"
Brother M, who works in a county CC&TSPM, replied that the church had no money. The woman then said that 1,500 yuan would be fine, or even just 1000 yuan. At this time, Brother M was tempted. He discussed it with his wife before paying but was stopped. His wife said, "You are fooled." As Brother M did not pay, the woman said 800 yuan was fine. At this point, he confirmed that this was a scam, and he refused to answer many later calls from the sister.
He told the Gospel Times, an online Christian newspaper, that when the strange woman called him, their church was carrying out infrastructure work and had posted the church information on the Internet. The woman should have gotten his contact information from the post.
Brother L, a media ministry worker, has been in the same situation as Brother M. L runs a WeChat official account that focuses on Christian social services. One day, a woman added her WeChat account to the WeChat official account. She talked with L, "I have Bibles to offer here. Do you know who needs them?" Brother L mentioned that a grass-roots church needed big-version Bibles. The woman immediately replied, "Yes, it's only for the elderly."
When providing contact information to the grass-roots church, L told the pastor of this church that this was doubtful and to never pay her first. Later, when L contacted the church head, he was very happy, saying he wanted dozens of copies, and the woman promised to give him nearly one hundred with only RMB 200 of the freight fee. But L told him not to pay the money as the woman may be a liar. The church head did not believe it. "Really? It is just 200 yuan."
L followed up and asked the woman if she had delivered the goods. At first, she said yes. Then he asked her for the express tracking number, but she never replied. In the meantime, she also asked him if there were other places where someone wanted the Bible. At this time, Brother L was basically sure that she was a liar, so he asked her to provide the video of the warehouse, and she no longer replied.
In fact, this is not new, and it was used as early as ten years ago. Pastor K who works in a county CC&TSPM, where Brother M also works, was once a victim. Pastor K heard that someone would offer a whole carload of Bibles, which could meet the needs of more than 30 gathering points in the county. As he did not have a car, the liar said that he could help find one, which would cost RMB 2,000. Pastor K paid the money in advance without consulting with his co-workers. After paying the money, he waited for two or three days at the appointed place to pick up the Bible, but he could no longer contact the person who was eager to "donate" the Bibles.
Brother M said that more than ten years ago, RMB 2,000 was not a small amount, as they held a training class at that time, but many participants could not pay the fee of RMB 40 per month and had to bring the food they cooked at home. At first, the deceived pastor did not dare tell other co-workers about it, but later the co-workers reimbursed the deceived money when they learned about it.
Looking back at the experience of being cheated, Brother M thinks that this was due to the pastor’s eagerness for the Bibles for the family of God and also his lack of knowledge and experience dealing with the secular world.
- Translated by Oliver Zuo