In 2018, I began writing Lent devotions to accompany my midweek sermons in the six weeks leading up to Easter. I’ve sent them out as daily emails, I’ve posted them on my blog, and this year I sent out the whole collection on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the traditional church season of Lent.
In response to my email, received a phone message: “This doesn’t sound like you. I think you may have been hacked.” And an email, wondering, “Did you send out devotions? I think you may have been hacked.”
The only thing I did differently this year was to open the door to Venmo donations for my devotions. I spent about one hour one each devotion. After editing and publishing, I figured I spent about sixty hours on this most recent project, “One of those days.” When I sent out the collection of devotions, I simply added, “You can support future devotions with a donation” and a Venmo address. No pressure. No paywall. No obligation. Not even an ask.
Danger, Will Robinson! Scam alert! Red flag! I commend all who wondered if this was legit. Yes, be on guard against any and all kinds of scams. But I also want to remind you of what looks like a scam and what doesn’t.
First, the scam won’t come from someone you know. Look at the email, not just the name. Look familiar? Then it’s legit. A long string of letters and numbers? No bueno.
Next, a scam will ask you for money and give you nothing in return. My email gave you devotions for free and asked for nothing in return. Obviously not a scam.
Finally, think for a moment. Who sends out Lent devotions to get into your personal information? Is that even a thing? Have you fallen for that scam in the past? Who else out there is giving you something for free?
You can all relax. If you want the devotions, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send it to you for free. Want to donate? Venmo something to @padrebill57.
Wow, just think of how much money I could have walked off with if I had thought of the Lent Devotion scam years ago!