Watch Out for Scams! Some parishioners have received requests that are said to be sent by me asking for gift cards. Scammers are very good at getting people to hand over money. I once got a message I thought was from my mom, asking for a gift card. It even had her e-mail address. Whenever you get a request that is even the slightest unusual, check it out. Call the person. Here are some other things you can do:
- Report any scam or unwanted email by forwarding it to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org who will track down and prosecute the scammers.
- Contact the organization that the email scam purports to be from.
- Contact your Internet Service Provider, who can help stop scam emails from reaching you. Many have a way to forward these emails directly to them from your inbox.
- Protect your friends from scams by checking them out before forwarding anything to your email distribution list.
One doesn’t know the sinking feeling of being scammed until one has been scammed! Fortunate for me, it was caught before any damage was done. I am one of the parishioners that Father Bill is referring to. I received an email from someone posing as Father Bill, asking me to help him buy gifts for the parish staff. “Father Bill” wanted me to buy a $100 gift card for each member of the staff, and send in my receipt for reimbursement. When I suggested that one can always use Amazon or Starbucks gift cards, he said he specifically wanted Apple gift cards. He went further to say that I should email him pictures of the gift cards with the PIN exposed. Once I have done that, draw a line through the card numbers and PIN, and give the cards to him when I see him on Sunday. He had me going until the picture part. I share this story because it is so easy to get scammed, when these scammers prey on your emotions. Set emotions aside, and let common sense take over. Please be careful!