Affinity fraud is a despicable crime plaguing communities by preying "on the weak and unsuspecting," a representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) told an anti-fraud conference sponsored by the Utah-based Fraud College.
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Michael Otterson, managing director of the Church's Public Affairs Department, praised the Fraud College's efforts to warn and educate potential victims.
"Any crime by which one person takes from another this world's goods is worthy of condemnation," Otterson said. "But crimes that by their very nature target those who are trusting, elderly and defenseless are reprehensible."
Otterson cited several Church leaders who have warned of the dangers of affinity fraud and noted the Church's acute awareness of its existence and efforts to avoid it.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the significance of this problem and is deeply concerned about the harm it can cause [to the community]," Otterson said. "As the threat of affinity and other fraud has surfaced in recent years, the Church has increased its efforts to teach its members and to encourage them to live by sound financial principles, as well as to avoid the dangers of financial predators."
Senior Church leaders have repeatedly warned against fraud.
Conference speakers from other faiths included Pastor Myke Crowder of the Christian Life Center in Layton, Utah, and Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman of the Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City.