Fighting Investment Fraud at Churches
How leaders can deter financial charlatans targeting Christians.

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

That quote from 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire appeared in the Oscar- winning movie The Usual Suspects. And it speaks to why Christians have been, and will continue to be, victims of investment fraud. Just as many people don't believe that the devil exists, many Christians don't believe that we are at risk from investment fraud. We tell ourselves, People who lose their life savings to a scam or an unethical financial adviser are gullible, stupid, or greedy. I am none of those things. Therefore, it can't happen to me. It's the big lie that makes us all so vulnerable. Just as the devil is pleased that so many deny his existence, scam artists and unethical brokers are pleased that the universe of possible victims feels immune to fraud.

Many articles discussing investment fraud against Christians include a subtle suggestion that Christians are more gullible than most people, but that's just not true. It isn't their status as Christians that makes believers vulnerable to investment fraud; it's their status as healthy human beings. Protecting Christians and Christian fellowships from investment fraud must therefore begin with helping them understand why we are so prone to believe—falsely—that it can't happen to us.

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Posted: November 1, 2011
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