New email and text scam targets religious groups and parishioners

According to TechEd Connect, a decades old community service group in Westchester, the scam targets religious groups and parishioners since people often donate to their house of worship.

News 12 Staff

Mar 9, 2023, 12:31 PM

Updated 435 days ago

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A new scam warning is out in which emails and texts are being sent, under false pretenses, that local clergy are collecting donations in cash or gift cards.
According to TechEd Connect, a decades old community service group in Westchester, the scam targets religious groups and parishioners since people often donate to their house of worship.
TechEd says even if the sender's name is familiar, do not trust any links or numbers sent to you.
  • Don’t reply by clicking links or use phone numbers within the received emails/texts, even if the sender’s name is familiar, because those could connect to fraudsters. Better to verify by contacting directly.
  • Take a close look at any sender’s email address. If the domain is not a religious organization but rather a general-purpose Gmail or AOL domain, that’s a signal the message may not be genuine.
  • For texts, see if the clergy sender’s area code is not local. If not local, it might be fake.
  • Be skeptical of messages that claim manufactured urgencies. An example is clergy asserts having to make hospital visits to comfort the ill so asks the congregation member as a favor to get cash cards and the like.
  • Be skeptical if clergy promises swift repayment at a later date.
  • Be skeptical if the sender says not to deliver to a house of worship but rather asks to receive by email or text the redemption pin numbers on purchased gift cards.
To ensure your donation is going to the right place, physically hand your donation to a member of your house of worship when you go there for service.


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