Email Scam/Hoax Hit Local Churches
St. Bede’s was recently targeted by an email scam/hoax. The scammer sent an email to their congregation requesting them to purchase iTune gift cards to be sent electronically. A member of their congregation lost about $400 dollars.
The scammer created an email address with the Vicars name and title (as found on their website) then emailed people posing as the Vicar. A volunteer who was subbing for the church thought it was from the Vicar and paid $400 for the iTunes gift cards.
Other church's in the area such as St. Paul Bellingham, and some other clergy around the diocese have been reporting being hit.
Some important steps to keep yourself safe from scams:
1. If a request seems odd, call Laura or the person who allegedly sent the email to verify the legitimacy of the request. Or, Forward the email to the person by using the email address in your personal contacts for that person. Don’t "Reply" to the email because it will just go back to the scammer.
2. The Church will never ask you to buy gift cards and send them electronically. PERIOD. For that matter the Church will never ask for you to verify your credit card, bank where you do business or your website Username/Password.
3. If the language seems odd, double check with the sender. Scammers try to emulate the way someone writes or talks but most aren't very good at it. Grammar mistakes, phrases out of order or phrases that just don't sound like the person can be cues something is fishy.
4. If you get an email you think is a scam report it to us and the police. Don't respond to the email but don't delete it. The authorities may be able to track scammers with the evidence embedded in the email. We can warn people that they might be targeted.