Do Not Become Their Prey!
“Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” (2 Tim. 3:13) So warn the Scriptures. And these impostors are trying not only to mislead in doctrinal matters but also to take advantage of the generosity of faithful brothers in a material way. From time to time notices have appeared in Our Kingdom Service giving warning of these deceivers, but the Society continues to receive reports of brothers being defrauded of money and material things because of believing the “hard-times” story of traveling impostors. Often their story is that they are stranded and need $50 or more to get gasoline and food for returning to their home. In most cases they are not Jehovah’s Witnesses at all but are only pretending to be.
If someone you do not know comes to you and says he is in need, it is wise to find out something about this person, and usually this can best be done by the elders. Genuineness often can be detected by discussing how long he has been in the truth, asking if he was at a recent assembly, seeing how familiar he is with recent publications, and so forth. Invariably you will find that it is advisable to ask for the name of one of the elders in his congregation so that you might call and get a recommendation. Bona fide brothers and sisters who find themselves unexpectedly in need should not object to this inquiry for the protection of all concerned. A telephone call should be made. Impostors will thus be exposed.
Usually it is not sufficient merely to accept the person’s word that he knows the name of an overseer in a particular town. In traveling, these deceivers sometimes learn the names of brothers and the congregations with which they are associated. While their story may sound very sincere, check it out first. Do not become their prey!