Speaker Scam

by Stephanie Rewis on July 22, 2010

Yesterday I received a request to speak at an upcoming London Youth Conference. Outside the slightly broken English, it wasn’t unlike other speaking requests. It was written to me by a Reverend Mike Gabriel. He stated where he found my name (through another speaking gig). He promised a contract on request as well as travel and generous honorarium. But my spidey sense went up for some reason (maybe it was the generous honorarium ;) ).

For one thing, the event is on August 1st, less than two weeks away. I was invited late due to the illness of one of the speakers. Another issue was related to the fact that the topic was “Future.” Future of what? There was no explanation. And the final fact that made me probe rather than reply was that the website address was listed as “being updated,” with no URL. Ummm, if you’re still updating your site 2 weeks before the event, I’m wondering how you’re going to have 3,500 people there as you state.

A quick Google search produced a link to Colleen’s website where she outlines a nearly identical letter from about a year ago—along with 63 comments from other speakers who have been contacted over the past year.

The scam comes in when they get you to give them a credit card number to procure a UK visa—or work permit—it seems to vary. And of course, you know what happens after that. As Strong Bad would say, “DeLEETed.”

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