Fraud Email Alert: Phishing Scam Targets Congregations


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 other 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. 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 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

The issue is also not unique to email but extends to text and phone calls. As with email, remember that 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.