Scamming and deceiving others for personal gain is unfortunately common in our fallen world. As Christians, it’s important we look to God’s Word for wisdom and insight on how to respond to and avoid being taken advantage of by scammers. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore what the Bible teaches about scammers and provide key takeaways for protecting yourself and your loved ones.
Scams come in many forms – from fraudulent investment opportunities and fake charities to identify theft and online relationship hoaxes. No matter the specifics, scammers aim to manipulate and exploit people for their own selfish benefit. As followers of Christ, we are called to rely on godly wisdom and discernment to avoid falling victim to deceit.
The Bible has much to say about those who cheat, lie, and take advantage of others. Learning biblical principles about scammers equips us to spot red flags, guard our hearts, and help protect those who are most vulnerable to exploitation. With discernment and caution, we can avoid the snares of dishonest schemers who seek to rob us financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Scammers exhibit patterns of greed, deception, manipulation, and theft that the Bible clearly warns against.
- God calls us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves, discerning truth from lies.
- Do not be eager to get rich quick – scams often promise undeserved wealth.
- Beware of flattery and appeals to greed – common tactics of scammers.
- Test what people say against God’s Word and listen to the counsel of wise believers.
- Avoid partnerships with untrustworthy people.
- Report scams and warn others to protect the vulnerable.
- Find your security and contentment in Christ rather than in money or possessions.
Now let’s explore principles from Scripture and examples that provide insight into how to identify and respond to scammers in God-honoring ways.
- Greed, Deception, Manipulation, and Theft
- Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves
- Do Not Be Eager to Get Rich Quick
- Beware of Flattery and Appeals to Greed
- Test What People Say Against Scripture
- Avoid Partnerships with Untrustworthy People
- Report Scams and Warn Others
- Find Security in Christ, Not Wealth
Greed, Deception, Manipulation, and Theft
Several passages of Scripture reveal that tendencies toward greed, deception, manipulation of others, and outright theft are characteristics that often accompany swindlers and scammers.
Proverbs 1:18-19 describes the immoral motivations of those who would entrap innocent people in their deceitful schemes: “But they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.” (NKJV)
Rather than earning money honestly, these scammers greedily “lie in wait” to exploit people and even destroy lives in their unethical pursuit of dishonest gain. Their hearts exhibit covetousness and a willingness to use deception to profit at another’s expense.
The book of Isaiah sternly warns of the consequences awaiting those who construct their lives through fraud and extortion:
“Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.” (Isaiah 5:8, NKJV)
Here we see that scammers scheme in secret and carry out plans to take what does not belong to them through exploitation and false pretenses. Rather than working honorably, they are motivated by greed and a desire for power and wealth.
In the New Testament, Paul drew attention to recognizable traits of swindlers operating within the early church:
“For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:6-7, NKJV)
This passage offers insight into the manipulative nature of scammers who take advantage of vulnerable people and keep them ensnared through ongoing deception. Their victims are so entrapped by falsehood that they cannot break free to grasp truth.
Finally, Jesus Himself exposed and rebuked religious leaders of His day who exploited innocent people through financial scams cloaked in false spirituality:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” (Matthew 23:14, NKJV)
Here Christ pronounced judgment on those who took advantage of vulnerable women through financial trickery and manipulation under the guise of religion. Financial scammers continue similar patterns today through fraudulent investment schemes and fake charities that manipulate generous donors.
The clear message of Scripture is to avoid adopting the mindset and tendencies of greedy scammers who enrich themselves through deception, manipulation, and theft. Wise Christians will be on guard against such deceivers.
Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves
Jesus encouraged His followers to apply spiritual discernment that distinguishes truth from deception:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16, NKJV)
Like wolves among sheep, scammers seek to ravage unsuspecting targets. Jesus commands a balance of wisdom that recognizes exploitation while maintaining purity of motive and action.
This means having savvy “street smarts” that sniff out deceit and ulterior motives, while also retaining simple innocence that does not mirror the cunning craftiness of schemers. Christians must navigate this tension, staying alert to manipulation and lies, but not becoming jaded or uncharitable in the process.
The Epistle of James also discusses discernment amid deception:
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17-18, NKJV)
Echoing Christ’s teaching, James contrasts earthly, self-serving wisdom with the purer spiritual discernment that comes from God. The holy wisdom from above bears good fruit and operates without ulterior motives and hypocrisy.
Applying such discernment protects us from smooth-talking scammers whose flattering words hide devious intentions. We maintain pure motives that promote peace and avoid duplicity.
The Bible advises seeking counsel from other trusted believers as an additional safeguard against deception:
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14, NKJV)
No man is an island. Seeking input from spiritually mature Christians provides a system of accountability and wisdom that exposes falsehood. Independent decisions leave us vulnerable to scammers who prefer to isolate their marks. Counsel dilutes deception.
In summary, nurturing biblical wisdom and discernment in community safeguards followers of Christ against manipulators and deceivers seeking personal gain at the expense of others.
Do Not Be Eager to Get Rich Quick
Since scammers frequently appeal to human greed and the desire for quick riches, the Bible repeatedly warns against such eagerness to obtain undeserved wealth.
For example, in an agrarian society where stable land ownership meant security and status, the Old Testament prophet Micah condemned corrupt businessmen who exploited others to amass land holdings:
“Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! …They covet fields and take them by violence. …Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, against this family I am devising disaster.’” (Micah 2:1-3, NKJV)
The New Testament also contains sober warnings about longing for wealth gained through unjust means:
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! …You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.” (James 5:1,5 NKJV)
James rebukes those made rich through exploitation, emphasizing that their position is temporary. This connects to scams that promise easy money but deliver misery.
Proverbs emphasizes hard work and diligence rather than scheming:
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” (Proverbs 10:4-5, NKJV)
“Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.” (Proverbs 13:11, NKJV)
These verses advise building wealth slowly through honest hard work rather than quickly through trickery and manipulation. Ill-gotten gain acquired by scams and vice provides an unstable foundation.
Finally, 1 Timothy 6:9 offers this stark warning:
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (NKJV)
Therefore, Christians must avoid greed and the allure of unjust profit. Scams rely on these weaknesses to ensnare victims. Contentment in Christ leads to freedom from lust for riches.
Beware of Flattery and Appeals to Greed
Since scammers are masters of manipulation, they will employ various techniques to influence emotions and cloud judgment. Christians should be alert for two common tactics – flattery and appeals to greed.
The book of Proverbs puts it this way:
“A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him.” (Proverbs 28:22, NKJV)
Scammers exploit this hunger for riches with smooth talk and flattery:
“A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” (Proverbs 29:5, NKJV)
And Proverbs further warns:
“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook. It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.” (Proverbs 18:4-5 NKJV)
These verses advise Christians to avoid extending favoritism or trust toward scammers who use carefully crafted speech to disguise their evil intentions. Do not let appealing words blind you to underlying greed and deception.
In the New Testament, Paul also touches on greed as an entry point for swindlers:
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:6-10, NKJV)
The key is recognizing deceitful words that mask greedy motives. As Christians, we must resist participation in such darkness, exposing it instead with gospel light and truth.
By identifying flattery and appeals to greed, believers can detect several hallmarks of unscrupulous scammers and maintain moral purity.
Test What People Say Against Scripture
God’s Word equips Christians with wisdom and discernment to evaluate the claims and teachings of potential scammers who distort truth.
The Apostle John, for example, applied this principle of biblical examination to itinerant teachers:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1, NKJV)
Note that John points to examining the content of a teacher’s message, not just blindly trusting any professed “prophet.” Even sincere believers can fall into doctrinal deception, so biblical scrutiny provides critical safeguards.
Paul also taught the importance of measuring truth claims against God’s revelation:
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11, NKJV)
The Bereans provided a commendable example, refusing to just take Paul’s teachings as truth. Instead, they fact-checked his statements against Old Testament writings.
Proverbs supplements these principles with practical advice:
“The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15, NKJV)
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12, NKJV)
Wise Christians will apply such prudence in examining the claims of potential scammers instead of accepting every proposition at face value. Careful scriptural analysis protects the innocent from deception.
Avoid Partnerships with Untrustworthy People
Since scammers excel at flattery and projecting false sincerity, Christians must be extremely cautious about business partnerships and other joint ventures.
Solomon gave this warning about legal agreements with shifty people:
“My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.” (Proverbs 6:1-2, NKJV)
Proverbs 6:6-8 goes on to describe that the schemer will eventually abandon you in violation of the agreement when it no longer serves his purposes. Legalistic written agreements provide limited protection with those already slippery with words.
Again in Proverbs, we read this observation about human nature:
“There are those who make themselves rich, yet have nothing; there are those who make themselves poor, yet have great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7, NKJV)
Outward appearances can conceal inward motives and truth. Flashy displays of wealth cannot be trusted to reveal character. Nor should we assume poverty equals virtue. Assessing the fruit of a person’s life offers better insight.
The prophet Hosea issued a sharp warning about partnering with deceivers:
“Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephraim is an unturned cake. Foreigners eat up his strength, but he does not know it.” (Hosea 7:8-9, NKJV)
This depicts someone foolishly trusting partnerships that drain away strength and resources. By compromising with pagan nations, Ephraim displayed short-sightedness and poor judgment that diminished his power.
As Christians, we must exercise similar discernment, being cautious about close business ties and joint ministry efforts with those who reject biblical truth and morality. Do not let eagerness for growth or potential profit blind you to the risk of compromise.
In summary, the book of Proverbs offers extensive practical wisdom about assessing character and avoiding partnerships with those who prove untrustworthy over time. Rushing into relationships with smooth talkers often leads to pain and loss. Let discernment guide your affiliation decisions.
Report Scams and Warn Others
Encountering scammers presents opportunities for social justice – reporting them to protect others while also ministering biblically.
The Apostle Paul told the Romans:
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9, NKJV)
Exposing and opposing deceit reflects genuine Christ-like care for our neighbors who may suffer harm at the hands of manipulators. Turning a blind eye fails to love others well.
But our motives matter greatly. The next verse in Romans says:
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” (Romans 12:10, NKJV)
While firmly rejecting and resisting evil, Christians must also offer redemption through compassion. Our aim goes beyond merely stopping scammers; we hope to see God transform their hearts and actions.
Proverbs supports reporting deception in order to protect others from victimization:
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18, NKJV)
Honest exposure of wrongdoing makes room for personal repentance and restoration. And establishing just consequences for fraud curbs lawlessness that breeds more scams.
Finally, Jesus’ call for His people to function as salt and light in the world has social implications:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:13-14, NKJV)
Reporting scammers and advocating for justice channels gospel light into darkness. Salt seasons society with integrity and deters corruption when believers take ethical stands in public life.
Firm, resolute resistance to wicked schemes meets Jesus’ mandate for His church to influence culture as preservative and illumination. At times, open exposure and opposition becomes necessary.
In summary, Christians have biblical responsibilities to use legal and social means to protect others, while also offering God’s love and grace that can redeem crooked hearts. Striking this balance reflects true Christ-like compassion and wisdom.
Find Security in Christ, Not Wealth
Given that scammers capitalize on human greed and gullibility, the Bible reminds us that true meaning, contentment, and security come from faith in Christ – not chasing material wealth.
Paul describes proper eternal perspective this way:
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8, NKJV)
Because death awaits everyone, present needs remain modest, and materialism proves pointless. Why obsess over riches that disappear?
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that storing up heavenly rather than earthly treasure should be our priority:
*”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV)*
Since scammers manipulate human greed, finding contentment in the sufficiency of Christ steers us away from their snares.
John would later echo this principle:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16, NKJV)
An inordinate desire for status, possessions, and sensuality often blinds people to deceit. But God graciously frees His children from bonding to transient earthly things.
Finally, the Psalms juxtapose the fleeting nature of life against the eternal salvation found in God:
“Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (for men will praise you when you do well for yourself), he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.” (Psalm 49:16-19, NKJV)
“I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.” (Psalm 37:25-26, NKJV)
Rather than chasing wealth, believers find reliable provision in God’s faithful goodness. His eternal blessings far surpass any earthly scam.
Centering our security in Christ allows Christians to resist the temptations of scammers. True contentment frees us to live generously within wise boundaries.
In closing, Scripture offers much wisdom for identifying and responding to scammers in God-honoring ways. By examining the deceitful patterns and motivations of dishonest schemers, Christians can be better equipped to avoid manipulation that leads to financial loss and spiritual compromise.
Maintaining eternal perspective provides freedom from greed-driven snares. Finding security in Christ and building wealth ethically steer believers away from scams promising quick and easy riches.
With discerning caution, gospel-centered compassion, and Spirit-led boldness, the church can counter social injustice while offering redemptive truth. Though scammers will always be present in this fallen age, wisdom from God’s Word allows Christians to avoid deception and walk in integrity as lights to the world.