Home > Managing Debt > Scam Everlasting? After 25 Years, Debunked Faith Healer Still Preaching Debt Relief

Comments 13 Comments

Fat Envelopes, Big Promises

Advertiser Disclosure


Apparently God wants me—yes me!—to be free of debt. In a rambling five-page letter, Peter Popoff tells me that God has instructed him to stop touring the nation and devote all his energy to erasing my debt.

And now God wants me to do the same.

“It’s time for you, Chris, to shift gears and enter into this whole new phase of Miracle living,” Popoff writes in his letter.

I first discovered Peter Popoff by way of Steve Rhode, a personal finance expert who calls himself the “Get Out of Debt Guy.”  Back when Steve wrote about Popoff earlier this year, the televangelist was still mailing out vials of blessed holy water, and advising viewers of BET that the water had the power to erase their debt.

[Article: Student Loans Top Consumer Debt]

“We’re anointed and appointed to get you healthy and wealthy,” Popoff said in the broadcast, which you can find saved on Rhode’s website.

“Let us send you this miracle faith tool to erase your debt. And we also want to send you this miracle faith water.”

As a guy who writes about debt for a living, I was more than a little curious to get my hands on this water. And if Popoff turned out to be a fraud, which I was pretty sure he would, then maybe I can help more people from becoming victims.

But before writing him off as a con man, first needed to give Popoff’s system an honest try. After all, if Popoff and God actually are working together to cancel debts, then presumably their system should work even for me, a preternaturally disbelieving journalist.

[Featured Product: Looking for credit cards for good credit?]

So I started by going to the website for Peter Popoff Ministries. There I filled out a form requesting a “Miracle Spring Water and Debt Cancelling Kit,” giving Popoff my name and address. I also called the phone number on the website. I left messages identifying myself as a journalist and asking Popoff or one of his employees to call me back. No one did.

And then I waited. And waited. I thought perhaps my call informing the organization that I’m a journalist might have caused them to block my request for a debt cancellation kit, since they surely would suspect that a journalist would be trying to investigate them, not send them money.

But my fears were unnecessary. After about two and a half months, a fat envelope from Peter Popoff Ministries appeared in my mailbox, with the words “How to Supernaturally erase YOUR DEBT!!” written in green ink across the front.

I tore into the envelope hoping to find some spring water. I was immediately disappointed. Instead of a vial of water, I received a rambling five-page letter. It immediately became clear that this process of getting my debts “supernaturally erased” is quite complicated. The letter included a long list of instructions, which I attempted to follow. First I added up all my debts from graduate school and my credit card. I placed the tally, the bills and my checkbook in a pile.

[Resource: Not sure where your credit stands? Get your Free Credit Report Card to find out.]

Do Not Open This Envelope »

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team