Scammers are taking advantage of the concerns over COVID-19 virus, and are again posing as priests and other clergy. As recently as today, you might receive an email or a text message that appears to be from your Pastor or another priest that you may know. The scammer asks you to help someone in need by purchasing a gift card and to provide the codes on that card. DO NOT RESPOND!
Here’s how to protect yourself from being scammed:
1. Know that scammers are out there. Be suspicious of any request for funds of any type via an email message or a text message. Verify any request with a call to the person who supposedly sent it or a call to the phone number of the text that you received.
2. Know that any email from a priest should be from a diocesan or parish email account. Messages sent from free services, such as Gmail or Yahoo, are more likely to be scammers.
3. Many clergy do not share their cell phone numbers publicly. If you receive a text message from someone not on your phone’s contact list, be suspicious.
4. Know that priests will NEVER ask for financial transactions via email or text messages.
For more information on how to protect yourself visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing