Phishing scams have been growing more and more lately in parish communities. Whether it’s an email request from someone at the parish, or a text message sent to a parishioner asking for gift cards or money, scammers are getting savvier in tricking people into giving them money. What can you do to avoid all this? Think before you click!
If you ever get a text message from someone claiming to be the pastor of your parish, or a hastily written email from a prominent member of your parish staff, with a strange request — you need to train yourself to step back and think: is this normal?
Usually the request is for iTunes or GooglePlay gift cards to be purchased, the back scratched off to reveal the PIN number, and then both sides photographed and texted back to the person asking for them. Rather unusual for a pastor or someone else on staff to ask for, right? Nine times out of ten, you’d be right, and the best thing to do is delete the text message or email ASAP. But if you still have doubts, you can always connect with that person through other means — like calling the parish office directly, in order to be sure.
Every day, you hear of a new internet scam. The best way to not fall for these scams is to remain vigilant, always verify, and always think before you click. For more ways to protect yourself, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website for some great tips.