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Be Aware of Church Scams

Spoofing and Phishing


Please note that from time to time, church staff and members have received emails Pastor Jay asking for financial information or for you to make a transaction. These emails are not from Pastor Jay.

 

Oak Knoll pastors and staff will never send you emails, texts, or social media messages asking for financial information, ‘favors’, gift cards, etc.

 

This activity is called spoofing. Spoofing is when someone disguises an email address, sender name, phone number, or website URL—often just by changing one letter, symbol, or number—to convince you that you are interacting with a trusted source. For example, you might receive an email that looks like it’s from a familiar source—but it actually isn’t.

 

Criminals count on being able to manipulate you into believing that these spoofed communications are real, which can lead you to download malicious software, send money, or disclose personal, financial, or other sensitive information.


How to Protect Yourself

 

Remember that companies and churches generally don’t contact you to ask for your username or password. Here are tips to protect yourself:

  • Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email or text message. Look up the company’s email or phone number on your own (don’t use the one a potential scammer is providing), and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.

  • Carefully examine the email address, URL, and spelling used in any correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust.

  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.

  • Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it, and never disable it.

 

Be careful with what information you share online or on social media. By openly sharing things like pet names, schools you attended, family members, and your birthday, you can give a scammer all the information they need to guess your password or answer your security questions.

 

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