IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT SCAMMERS
Dear parishioners of Saint Michael’s,
There have been multiple reports from parishes and from other dioceses that many priests are being impersonated by phishers and scammers trying to convince parishioners to send them gift cards or gift card numbers. Just in the last two days, scammers had contacted four of our own parishioners.
What these phishers and scammers do is obtain priest and parishioner information from different sources. They then use the information to impersonate the priest and send out emails requesting gift card numbers. When phone numbers are available, fake texts have been sent also.
Please be aware of these types of phishing attacks and scams! If you receive any messages requesting gift cards or gift card numbers, or even a text that says something like, “I need a favor from you, please text me back as soon as possible”, and the sender claims to be me, it is a phishing attempt. You can contact the parish to let us know of the phishing attempt. You may want to report this attempt to the authorities. See www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing for more details.
You should never email or text the numbers from a gift card. Once a scammer has that information, they can immediately drain the gift card and make it worthless.
If I or the parish ever needs assistance or if I am asking for a donation, I typically will write, call, or visit with you in person. Unless you are expecting me to request assistance or a donation by email or text message, you should confirm that I really am making this request. That confirmation should be made by any other means besides replying to the suspicious email or text you received (which would go back to the scammer).
If you have any questions about this scam, you are welcome to contact the parish offices.
Posted on Mon, March 4, 2019
by Fr. Jeremy Hazuka