Dear St. John’s,
Today, one of our members received a text message supposedly from me, requesting them to purchase gift cards for me. THIS WAS A COMPLETE SCAM. Fortunately, she contacted me before making the purchase.
Telephone and online scams are prevalent and sophisticated these days, aided by computer technologies. Please be cautious in responding to emails or texts that don’t sound right, ask for a favor, or ask you to “email me back when you get this,” especially without reason or context. If it doesn’t sound like me, it may not be! If it’s not coming from my phone number or from my pastor or personal email, it may be a “phishing” expedition.
WHEN IN DOUBT, PLEASE CONTACT ME DIRECTLY, using my email or cell number. Below is a notice the diocese sent out after I alerted them to this incident. The link provides helpful guidelines.
From the diocese:
One of our parishes has reported that a member received the classic gift card scam via a text message purporting to be from their clergy.
Please continue to treat ALL requests to buy gift cards - or make any other type of financial transaction - with suspicion, and block the phone number or email of any identified scam.
These guidelines for email scams also hold for text scams: https://dioceseofnewark.org/geeks/whaling-email-attacks-how-foil-them
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