Crooks using religion to scam their victims - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crooks using religion to scam their victims

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Investigators say con artists in Indiana are scamming people by pretending to raise money for a church and now officials say people in the Mid-South need to be on the lookout too. Investigators say con artists in Indiana are scamming people by pretending to raise money for a church and now officials say people in the Mid-South need to be on the lookout too.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Investigators say con artists in Indiana are scamming people by pretending to raise money for a church and now officials say people in the Mid-South need to be on the lookout too.

Police in Petersburg, IN said while they've never seen a scam exactly like this one, it does have similarities to other criminal activity HERE - because they say the scammers mix religion with money!"

A man and a woman have been going to door to door and pretending to raise money for a church, according to police in Petersburg, IN. Once inside the homes, one of them asks to use the bathroom and then raids the medicine cabinet.

"I think they've got a lot of guts to go into someone's residence and try to scam them like that," said Cpl. Chad Tharp, of the Petersburg Police Department.

In some cases, the couple took it a step further and even asked the victim to join them in prayer. While the victim was praying with their eyes closed, the suspects made off with money out of the victim's purse or wallet.

The Mid-South Better Business Bureau reports faith-based scams are rampant in the Memphis area.

One phony, faith-based scam made headlines a few years ago. Crooks using the name "Miracle Cars" sold dozens of vehicles at a discount to the faithful. They even recruited ministers to endorse the program and took in more than $20 million. However, the crooks never actually had any cars.

The BBB advises people to be wary of investment or other opportunities tied closely with a specific religious belief.

The group also says you should be on guard if someone you don't know shows up at your house asking for money for a religious group you don't belong to.

They also tell people to always check to make sure the organization is legitimate before money changes hands.

However, Tharp says the most important lesson you can learn from this particular scam is to never let strangers in your house.

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