Belief Beat

I’ve just written a Religion News Service story about whether people of faith make easier marks for con artists, prompted by the news of a Ponzi scheme that scammed $30 million from Chicago-area Muslims, along with other affinity frauds that have targeted Jews (Madoff, anyone?), Mormons, evangelical Christians, etc., in recent years. 

There aren’t any official stats yet on whether being religious makes you more likely to be swindled, or whether particular denominations are more often defrauded than others, but the experts I consulted say there’s a link between religiosity and increased trust/naivety, and that Mormons and evangelical Christian groups with strong social networks seem to suffer a disproportionate amount of fraud.

With that in mind, and the holiday giving season upon us, check out Nicholas Kristof’s column for The New York Times, “When Donations Go Astray.” If you want to donate to a faith-based charity, he has some advice for ensuring that your money gets to the right place.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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