We have heard from a number of North Georgia Conference clergy and church leaders whose congregations have been the target of online scams.
In most predominant scam, church members receive fraudulent emails that appear to be from the pastor and ask for help (usually financial help). A common theme is a need for a gift card or urgent help for a loved one.
If you receive an email that strikes you as unusual, confirm that it's legitimate before you reply. Refrain from forwarding the email to others. Instead, make a quick phone call to the church or write a new email to your pastor or a staff person. If the email is fraudulent, report it as phishing to your email provider and delete the email.
The issue is also not unique to email but extends to text, phone calls, and social media. As with email, remember that clergy and churches do not ask for personal or financial information by text. Don't be rushed, instead, be cautious and confirm the legitimacy of a communication (including a friend request on social media) before you respond or accept.
Last year article in The Christian Post shared that churches nationwide are the target of these scams. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams.