A number of church members received a text recently from someone pretending to be Rev. Molly in a new phishing scam. We’ve discovered the source of the breach and they do not have access to anyone’s financial info. The staff has learned better methods to reduce the number of attacks in the future, but since scammers are always changing their tactics, here are some good questions to ask yourself when a phishy email or text comes in purporting to be from one of your pastors:
When did it arrive? (i.e. during business hours? midnight?) What’s the sending email or phone number, and is it the one I’m familiar with? Specifically, look for periods, dashes, and other punctuation that can make an email look like another one. Check the actual email address and not just the display name. Does it ask me to do something unusual, i.e. buy gift cards, wire money, do a “favor”? Does it use oddly formal language? Does it give an excuse for why you can’t actually check with the person verbally? All of those are red flags and should make you hesitate before trusting! Reminder: none of your pastors or staff will ever ask you to send money or gift cards, via any other mechanism than Realm or a check to the church office. And: please make it harder for scammers to take advantage of others by reporting the phone number and/or email as phishing or spam.