As I’m sure you know, Facebook is a favorite playground for scammers and hoaxers thanks to it’s massive 2 billion+ person worldwide user base.
I despise scams and hoaxes in general, but the ones that really bother me the most are the ones that target Christians.
A while back I wrote a post about the insidious “Amen scam” that scammers use to profit off the good will of Christians.
That scam never ends because it’s so lucrative for the scammers, but others seem to come and go as the seasons change.
Well, over the last few days I’ve noticed that the old “Lets Start A Prayer Chain” hoax is once again making the rounds.
Luckily, this hoax is more and aggravating than dangerous, but it really bothers me nonetheless. This is how it works…
You see a Facebook post or receive a private message from one of your friends stating that a child has been injured or is deathly sick and needs prayers.
The message suggests that you should help start a prayer chain by either sharing the post or forwarding the message to as many of your friends as possible.
Although the actual text of the messages and the names of the “victims” vary a bit, they typically look something like this:
“Hey, can you help me get a prayer chain going for Micheal Bass’s little boy named Dakota Miller. They had to life flight him. He shot him self and he’s on life support. Forward this to everyone you can please! It’s really appreciated. This is for a friend. Thank you.”
As you can see, this is a very compelling call to action for most any Christian. After all, who wouldn’t want to pray for a child who is in danger of dying?
The problem is the “children” mentioned in these messages don’t exist, and neither do the “parents”. They are completely fictitious and the messages are designed to pull at your heart strings and get you upset.
For the record, I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer. There are countless situations where prayer is both needed and beneficial. But I also believe that tricking people into praying and worrying about situations that aren’t real is one of the cruelest hoaxes there is.
Bottom line: If you receive a prayer request on behalf of a real friend, by all means pray for them and ask others to do the same (but write your own personal message when you make the request).
However, I recommend that you simply delete any hoax prayer requests that you might receive and never give them another thought. And at the very least, try to refrain from sharing them or forwarding them on to others.
Again, these hoax messages are usually very easy to recognize because they almost always include phrases like “Lets get a prayer chain going” or “This is for a friend“. If you see phrases like those you can safely assume that the message is a hoax.
Bonus tip: Click here to read about some of the other scams and hoaxes that are currently making the rounds.
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