Profit Peter Popoff’s Fleecing of the Foolish

Two things happened recently that have caused me to revisit “Prophet” Reverend Peter Popoff of The People United for Christ, Incorporated. First, I’ve received a number of comments and emails regarding my first blog about Popoff’s “Miracle Spring Water” from Chernobyl that made me realize this guy is out there really hurting people, many of whom are desperate for answers. The second event that prompted another blog was that Rev. Peter Popoff himself phoned me! Well… sort of.

I want to tell you a little bit more about my professional background. After college I was an editor for a newspaper in Danbury, Connecticut. When the newspaper ran out of money, so did I. So I sold out and went into marketing and public relations. I spent the next six years working in the marketing departments of both public and private companies, and I even did a stint working for an advertising agency in Connecticut. During this time I learned a lot about direct mail by organizing campaigns for clients, writing the contents of some of these sales documents, and understanding what technology was available in regard to making the letters personalized and more innovative. So when I receive direct mail of any kind today, I have an understanding of what went into the creation of the piece.

So the other day my office phone rang and I picked it up. “This is your prophet Peter Popoff,” the voice on the other end said. I immediately recognized the voice. The recording of Popoff’s voice went on to tell me that I should watch one of his televised miracle crusades that was coming up. After I hung up, it occurred to me that I’d never spoken with a living human from Peter Popoff’s People United for Christ, Incorporated. The first toll-free number I called all those months ago was answered by a recording from Peter Popoff who asked me to leave my name and address (spelling everything out) on the recording. After that, the letters started coming, each one asking for a specific amount of money. I gave the amount he requested twice because I wanted to see where this would go. I quickly figured out where it was going. Each week I received one or two letters from Popoff, each with some crazy gimmick like holy bubble gum, blessed mood rings, or a supernatural fleece. You can see that one below (click on the image for a larger view).

Rev. Peter Popoff’s Supernatural Fleece

I also noticed other features of Popoff’s direct mail campaigns. In the lower right of each piece of mail I received from Popoff, was a number: 1921805. This is a control number. The day I first called for the Miracle Spring Water, I was assigned this number in their computer. When I mailed in a “donation,” it was noted on my number and I became a higher priority for the campaign. Some of the cards Popoff asked me to fill out asked if I was married, or who I’d like him to pray for and what was my relationship to that person. He also asked how much debt I was in. I filled in a few things that are public knowledge anyway. I gave him my wife’s name on the card, and I told him the total I owe on my house’s mortgage. When my donation and filled-in cards went back, I noticed future letters became more personalized — they mentioned my wife’s name as well. How? Because when my mail goes back to his headquarters, someone enters that information in the database that corresponds with my control number 1921805. The more details he has, the more personalized the letters can become — and through the miracle of automation software and direct mail, he can send out thousands of these letters per day — all “personalized.”

Popoff’s letters are printed in two colors. A black “Courier” type face to make it look like it was typed on a typewriter, and then blue writing to make it seem like he personally wrote special notes that call the reader’s attention to various parts of the letter. These are probably written by Popoff himself because they’re generic (i.e. they don’t mention my name) and the lettering is different than other seemingly hand-written sections. Check out page 4 of his “fleecing” letter. Notice how he asks for $24.00 at the end? And see my control number in the lower right (click on the image for a larger view)?

Peter Popoff Letter

One person who emailed me about my first Popoff blog mentioned that they had personalized hand-written notes from the good Reverend on their letters. The hand-written parts of the letters is simply a computer font. If you look at the letters, you’ll see all of the E’s are identical, as are the I’s, T’s, etc. It’s just a type face and it’s a different style than those generic messages I mentioned above. I’ve included one of these here (click on the image for a larger view):

Peter Popoff’s hand-written letter

A database feeds a printing press that churns these letters out, stuffs the envelopes, and then someone brings them to the post office. You wouldn’t need too many people to run an operation like this. No one has to answer phones or letters. They just have to run the checks to the bank, enter information from donations into the database, and run the printing press. It’s easy, and it’s obviously profitable. You almost have to admire Rev. Popoff’s approach. It’s a formula that is working for him. It’s completely impersonal, has nothing to do with teaching the Bible or anything else, and everything to do with pulling readers in to donating various amounts of money that can really add up over time. Along the way he’ll send you bubble gum, oil, water, salt, and anything else he can dream up in an effort to make you think you’re partaking in a supernatural ritual, when in reality you’re acting like a puppet and he’s just pulling your strings in an effort to get closer to your money.

Rev. Peter Popoff does have a divine transfer in mind. He believes it would be divine if you transferred your money to him. If you follow the steps of his letters and give the amounts of money he’s asking for, you will indeed be fleeced.

I’d like to close with this video from YouTube. In the 1980s, Rev. Peter Popoff was a well-known faith healer. Skeptic and debunker James Randi attended one of Popoff’s “healing” events with a radio scanner and discovered how Peter Popoff could supernaturally gain information about the people in his audience. Watch the video and see for yourself. If you’ve watched some of Popoff’s infomercials, you’ll recognize his wife’s voice talking to him over a wireless earpiece as she reads from the prayer cards that these people filled out before the event. Click here to watch the video and also see how Rev. Popoff is living today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxqRN5vjDHQ

22 Comments

  1. Tony

    I wrote on your old blog about my situation suffering chronic pain now for three years. As I stated in said blog in a moment of desperation I called Popoffs number and in tears I told them about the pain I was in and how I was near the edge of committing suicide. Since then I’m much much better and close to returning to the work force so no worries about me please. Anyway that lowlife took my information and has since sent me over 15 letters asking for money. I have never responded to any of his letters. after reading the first one and mentioning in this letter he understood my pain situation and that it was caused by evil and he wants to help me badly but I must give a donation of 27 dollars because I can not go before god empty handed as he put it. My god what a low life this sob is. In my mental state at the time I called him he sees me not as a person in much pain suffering but rather a mark to scam money out of. 15 letters to date and I’m sure more are to come. The last one came with what I called gold pixie dust since I didn’t read all of the letter and don’t know what the low life was claiming it was. Oh ya and in the last letter he was asking for 65 bucks. My god what a low life! Thank God I found relief from the pain I suffered cause I was desperate enough I think I would have sent the low life money just in the moment of desperation.
    Can’t this SOB be stopped?

  2. tina

    Yes, I have received many letters too. I can’t believe Rev. Popoff can get away with this. Tony, you are doing better now because of pray. I have been thinking of u & praying for u. Things been getting alot better for me too. Much happier. U need to talk to friends. God is always there. He is with u at all times. You r never alone. I have been looking for u to wright back because I was worried about u. I feel much better now you r doing better. So NO ONE needs Rev. Peter Popoff.

  3. Tony

    Thanks Tina for your concern and I’m sorry that I haven’t been on to respond. Your right though it is because of praying and others praying for me too.
    I’m glad to hear you are doing better too!
    All my best to you and your family. I hope your son is well. For some reason while praying I felt drugs were an issue and I don’t know why I felt that. AnyWays….
    I seen a news report about Mr Popoff this past week so I hope he’ll be running away into hiding again soon!

    The power of FAITH and Prayer goes a long way!

  4. Tony

    Tina feel free to e-mail me and we’ll talk
    tonycap57@hotmail.com

  5. tina

    No, Tony, was not drugs. I did have a son that was into to drugs but he went through the 28 day program. He has been clean for 4 years. He has a baby girl & probably getting married this year. My other son could not handle losing his bubba and he was very close to him. Plus my father died at 59 two years ago. He was very close to him too. He had trouble in school so he could not handle all these things emotionly. We are from a small community and people judge. He just had a bone tomer out yesterday. So talk to u later.

  6. Tony

    OMG I hope he is doing okay Tina
    I know what it’s like living in a small community.
    We live in a town of 1900 people.
    Take care

  7. anne

    thank God for people like you. this scum bag nearly conned my friend who’s on state benefit. the latest letter we got two days ago was asking for £200. that’s ridiculous. for someone who’s being paid a small allowance by the government.
    i advised her not to send a dime…. so all we do now is rush to the letter box in the morning, read his letters and laugh our heads off before tearing them up and throwing them in the bin.
    we have lots of souveniors now… MIRACLE WATER, DEAD SEA SALT, GOLD AND SILVER BRACELET, MIRACLE LEAF….just how dense does he think we are?

  8. Shari

    Peter Popoff is not the only Televangelist out there scamming people. They prey on the weak, the elderly, those in pain or close to being homeless. These programs air on Mainstream cable stations – airtime sold (usually) by a third party media broker, then inserted by your local cable or satellite company. How can citizens strong arm the FCC to take a position on this??? If local cable carriers were at least fined for filling the air time with these programs, third party media buyers that criminals hide behind would soon only be buying time for questionable diet products and vitamins. Some of these infomercials get away with fraud as well, but they do not seek out the poor and the weak.
    Look out for Kerney Thomas ( seen mostly on BET) and Paul Lewis as well. How can we make this stop????

  9. I have gotten 2 letters now from this guy , first he sends me mriacle water and today i got letter with dead sea salt so it says also asking for money, he has called my home 2 times leaving messages on my machine, letters saying i must act now and obey the letter. this guy needs to be stopped, there are alot of elderly people that will fall for this scam.
    this is a shame.

  10. Boy, do I have a story for you, a paper trail of Peter Popoff’s deceptive practice and my uncle is out of $225,000.00 because of this man! With the assitance of Peter Popoff, he encouraged my uncle to keep sending money to those Nigerian email scams. My uncle is out of $570,000.00 and is completely broke and about to lose everything. He is 71 years old..The banks kept giving my uncle money, what’s with that? I don’t get this whole thing..Are you interested in exposing this fraud, if so email me?

    • Julia L. Smith

      I read your comment about Peter Popoff on this blog. I just found out last week that my Mother has been sending him money for the last 2 yrs!!! She is on Social security and gets a small pension from my father’s worlplace after he passed away. She’s sending money that she does not have til I found out . I am very much interested in bringing this fraud down. Here’s my email: lavel144@hotmail.

  11. Junior M.

    I am feeling the same thing. I have sent Peter Poopoff a total of $73. An Emergency fund of 50 and 23 dollars. I can’t belive I did that and since that I have been trying to get him to refund MY MONEY! So far nothing happens. He acted like he “saw” me getting healed along with my grandmother. THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN! He also said that I would recieve between $1,700 and $17,000. THAT ALSO DIDN’T HAPPEN! I noticed the very strange thing about the letters Peter Poopoff sent me was the signatures are all the same. Along with the business replies letters. I have been praying to get my hearing restored and very hopeful to return to work full-time. And still recieving the letters today wanting me to put a stick on my forehead and pray as exactly as he instructed? He is one of the stupidest retard I have ever met. By the way, the name of the idiot is Peter Popoff – I just love to call him Peter POOPOFF! Funny, huh?

  12. ELLEN TRENT

    I HAVE A STACK OF MAIL FROM PETER POPPOFF WHICH JUST KEEPS COMING EVEN THOUGH I WROTE HIM AND CALLED HIM THE DEVIN IN DISGUISE AND TOLD HIM NOT TO SEND ME ANY MORE OF HIS JUNK MAIL.
    I WANT TO START A CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT AGAINST THIS NUT. HE HAD WROTE IN ONE LETTER THAT I WAS NO LONGER TALKING TO HIM I WAS TALING DIRECTLY TO GOD. HE HAS SENT ME ALL KINDS OF FOOLISH ITEMS TO DO SOMETHING WITH AND RETURN TO HIM WITH MY MONEY. HE PROMISES IN EVERY LETTER THAT HIS SEES UNTOLD WEALTH COMING MY WAY. WELL IF I GET SOME OF HIS MILLIONS IN A LAWSUIT HIS PROPHECY WILL COME TRUE. I WOULD LIKE ANY OTHERS WHO WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THIS LAWSUIT TO CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL.

  13. he gave me a letter saying my prayers will be answerd december 7th and my great grandmother died and left me a 2 million dollar inheretance so i dont kno what everybody is talking about…u just gotta have faith beleive n god not peter..all he does is minister he doesnt get paid for it..he has to support his family just like us..he gets paid for his gift just like rappers and singers…dont be mad cause he has millions and ur broke…just keep tha faith

  14. maria

    You’re right…its our faith and not this evil Popoffffff….but i want this man imprisoned, take a thousand lashes and go to hell….for deceiving people who desperately needed help – physically, financially….GO TO HELL POPPPPPOFFF

  15. Spiritual,revelation,prophecies,coming to pass,confirmations of all.1,people are drawing eagles,things about past,in visions,dreams,angels,ect,2 people are represeting thereselves,as animals, both sexually,and who they are,3 people are fressing more calcural,getting more colourfull,most are representing,chosen woman,or seperate person,harlet,purple popular.4 people are seeing visions of a woman,native,brown hair,on road directing them.5 people are seeing chosen woman,in white robe,white long hair,on white horse,fields,flowers,rivers,bright lights.also seeing a door to other opertunities,6,there whering eagle pins,necolaces,making trophies,earings,paintings,ect,also drawing,putting dragon sighns on clothing,postboards,paintings,8,t.v shows,are confirming,flying like eagles,souring like doves,a chosen woman,prosperity,animals,all radio,t.v shows,news casters,evangelists,authorities,confirming it al,true.Across the world the affect me rev peter popoff,have had on lives is/1 Everyone is trying to overcome,trying to find ways of doing so,2 people are showing there talents,by drawing,making flowers,also starting to preform it through talents,to represent restoration to lands.3 people are becoming more hygenic,look better,taking health methods of differant kinds,becoming transformed in body.4 trying to become more loving,kind,daring to dream,desire more.5 people are starting to reach out,proclaim,stand up for selves.6 prosper,be thereselves,not taking things personally,taking back what is rightfully theres.7 desiring,to be princes,prince,go higher up in livces,tired of old,dragewd out,unsuccesfull,poor lives.8 authorities,systems,hospitals,starting to see,the truth of matters,working together,as one body,lives are starting to change.9 Though and very important,others are zelous,jelous,decietfull,unkind,lashing out in anger angaist otheres who are succeeding,are doing this only because they know in there hearts ,we are right,they hate us for it.Cant find it in themselves to open there hearts instead of hardning there hearts,letting truth in.All there causing is Gods wrath on thereselves,destruction in there own lives,they dont think much of thereselves,all there proving is us trueer,true ,who we really are,more more,as true in full.In JESUS NAME AMEn,JESUS CHRIST AGREES THIS IS TRULLY WHAT IS HAPPENING,SAYS THE LORD,SO LET IT BE WRITTEN SO LET IT BE DONE SAYS MOST HIGH GOD,LION OF JUDA,GREAT IAM AMEN AMEN AMEN.

  16. OMG! Sadly i feel in to this! An sent him at least 200.00 over time. I was at a loss and i seen his show on night and in a fit of tears over my problems i called looking for help in any direction. I recently have found a closer connection with my self and god, started going to church a small one with a friend, after hearing the pastor talk about god i knew i had been scammed. We are facing forcloseur due to a lender mistake with a family of five and a new baby, and past issue presenting danger and strain on my marriage i was lost. Now im so upset that you can be fooled like this and he cant be stoped. How can you take advantage of people that truley are in pain and need in the name of god? This is crazy! WEll now what i have learned it will only come back to him what i states will happen to you in one of his many letters if you do not return the money, i have recived maybe 15 letters and this one i just opened asked for 200.00 the other asked for 40.00 and i had one last week asking for 1500.00!! They all had something in them to like green and purple dust,a number seven,pennies and rings ect.

    So sad and folish i got fooled but some times when people are at a loss they belive anything and today there are many of us and having faith are being sucked from the pennies we have!

  17. Dan ORourke

    How do we get Peter Popoff to leave my mother in law alone. He is sucking her dry. over 10,000 last year. She said she is going to stop sending money but now they are calling here at home. Where can we get help

  18. jessica

    I ordered a packet of miricale spring water from peter popoff just to help my family out due to hard times and im only 11..my mom doesnt know and its eating me inside to know that the only person that knows r my elderly great granparents whos house it is coming to.sometimes something tells me that normal children in the world dont pick up phones and order stuff and i feel bad about how keeps sending stuff.is this ever going to stop?i didnt send him any money i just ignore his letters..I JUST WANT HIM TO STOP!!

  19. Truly it pains me to think of the vulnerable souls who are being defrauded by charlatans like Popoff and virtually every other high profile tele-evangelist out there. These people have no shame, no dignity, no mercy and no substance. Their mission is strictly a money making venture. Joyce Mayer is another “prophet” who, indeed, is a prophet for gigantic profits. Research Ms. Mayer and you’ll read about her shady past. She’s recently been investigated by the federal government for the donations to her “church” being grossly misused for personal means. You know, it’s all of those big time tele-evangelists who live a jet set lifestyle: lavish homes all over the world, fancy automobiles, aircraft, expensive clothing, the whole ball of wax….. We have to understand that there are sick and evil people in ALL walks of life and in every vocation; some professions more than others. Your relationship with a higher power is something that is a powerful and personal union. You don’t need some devious charlatan with all of their luring claims to bring you grace and salvation. Just think how simple it is to take time and connect with a higher source of existence. All it takes is just a little time to reflect, meditate, or however else you feel comfortable connecting with a higher source. It won’t cost you a penny either! I understand the desperate state some people are in needing guidance, but whoever said that prayer and possibly needing a miracle in their lives had to have a hefty price tag attached to it? It’s YOUR OWN relationship with a higher power and NOBODY can rob you of that. And NEVER let ANYBODY try and seduce you with claims they may offer that sound way too good to be true.

  20. Hi all,

    Since it is hard to trust people these days, I thought I’d share some of my own wisdom that has brought me peace and allowed me to still reap the benefits of being obedient in the Lord (because I want to – Love wants to). I make all of my tithes between God and myself. If I give to someone it is because I am edified by the message they deliver. Then I don’t have to live my life in anger or regret and my seed is blessed instead of tainted by bad thoughts/energy. Finally, we all as a people, work by belief. If we believe it is not so (with anything), it will not be.

    Peace and blessings,

  21. Taquila Green

    I know y’all don’t want to hear this but I must tell the truth. This is my actual name and I too felt the same way about him at first when he kept asking for money but I was so desperate I had tried everything else. The first thing that we must do when dealing with prophets is follow their word from god completely a nd see it trough to the end. I can honestly say ever time I let go what’s in my hand towards his ministry I get it back In folds immediately. I also am on a budgeted income. I only continued to give because somehow he knew the desires of my heart and what I prayed for. Only god could know this . I first contacted him for prayer about a year and a half ago. My daddy had a car accident that left him brain dead. Needless to say Peter assured my that he would live and also walk again. The letters kept coming and also the money request. I had to keep sending it because I knew it wasn’t even 10 percent that he was asking for and we must give to recieve. A year went by before I saw any miracles. I found out why. First of all god wouldn’t work for me until I sobered up and he wouldn’t work with me with no faith. Even my kids are better. Lol and my yougest son was 3 on his way to juvie!!! He has been a blessing in my life. He even told me a person would bring me 1000 dollars the other week. Now the devil tried to enter vein and give me 2400 for a date. I was thinking to my self dang that’s the money but the spirit hit me that week and I changed my ways so I decided not to take that offer. I got a phone call later from a guy that I know and he asked me if I needed some money. Being proud I told him I’m straight knowing my lights were about a week from being shut off but then I told him if he lead to bless me then I will except it. Wouldn’t you know he brought me 1000$. I was overwhelmed. Nobody ever gives me anything. I have been on my own for a while but that day I realized I wasn’t. God had favor in me and he was trying to change me and that day when that prophecy came true, I knew he was real. Ps. My daddy started walking about three days ago too. Please if you believe in Jesus Christ of Nazereth do not speak Ill about this prophet. He is a man called by god. He spreads the word through out the world and neither one of you can out give god!!! And to the man who said their uncle lost over 300,000 or whatever the bogus claim sound like because it was out there, the devil is a lie and the weath of sinners is built up for the righteous!!!! Believe dat. Y’all better repent. Y’all have wronged him!!!

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