David Pickup, a solicitor, considers scam emails.

I just had an email from a clergyman, saying, “Hi” and asking me to do him “a favor”. I replied to say yes, of course. I then began to wonder why he had not said what sort of favour it was, and why he was asking me.

I decided to telephone him and find why he had not explained. His wife answered and said: “Is it about the fake email?” I could tell from her tone of voice that I was not the first caller.

This was a scam of some sort and probably the favour was to send money. The same day someone else in the same parish had their accounts hacked. The email addresses used were correct, but if had looked carefully I would have noticed he would not spell “favour” like that and not say “hi”.  

This all makes me quite cross, because these scammers are playing on church members’ kindness. A friend of mine also got the email and was upset that someone else was in trouble. We need to be aware of the risks and look out for messages of any kind which seem strange.

Criminals target churches and pretend to send emails from people in authority such as clergy, churchwardens or treasurers. They prey on our credulity and charity.

What should we do?

If you get a telephone call or email you and you are not sure if it is genuine, use another form of communication to check.

It is a crime, so report it to the authorities. If it is connected to a church, tell your diocese or governing body.

The scammers must have got these addresses from somewhere. How easy would it be to get a list of the names and addresses of your minister, leaders and treasurer?

Lastly, carry on being generous and kind. These scammers should not stop us. 

Source : Parish Pump