Fraud Alert: Phishing Scam Targets United Methodists (Again)

3/26/2021

We have heard from a number of North Georgia Conference clergy whose congregations have been the target of an e-mail scam. Church members have received 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. 

Just this week some North Georgia United Methodists have received a fraudulent email claiming to be from Bishop Sue.

If you receive an email that strikes you as unusual, confirm that it's legitimate before you reply. (Note that Bishop Sue's actual email address ends in "ngumc.org" not "gmail.org.") Refrain from forwarding the email to others. Instead, make a quick phone call or write a new email to confirm. If the email is fraudulent, mark it as phishing to your email provider and delete the email. 

The issue isn't unique to North Georgia. An article in The Christian Post shared that churches nationwide are the target of these scams. The Federal Trade Commission shares tips on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams.

The issue is also not unique to email but extends to text and phone calls. As with email, remember that the Conference, clergy, and churches do not ask for personal or financial information by text or email.

Don't be rushed, instead, be cautious and confirm the legitimacy of a communication before you respond.



 


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