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Scam Alert for Church Members

Whaling


Please be aware that churches and their members are often targets for financial scams. If you receive an email or phone text  or social media message that appears to be from one of the pastors asking you to take some kind of unusual action – click a link or download an attachment you didn’t request, wire money to a specified account, purchase gift cards and reply with the serial numbers, or simply to reply quickly, please do not reply or act on this type of request. This is called, “whaling.”


Whereas “phishing” involves sending a fraudulent email to a large group of people in the hope that a few will respond, “whaling” involves forging communications that look like they’re from the “big fish” in an organization, i.e. the “whale.” For us, this usually means one of the pastors, the financial manager, or council leader, although it could be someone else in authority at the church.


The message will give some explanation of why the leader needs your help immediately. They may include some story about another person in dire circumstances whom the pastor is trying to help. But instead of helping a needy person, if you respond you will actually be turning over money and possibly your identity information to a scammer.

 

As with any sensitive information requests, don’t act until you verify communications with a phone call and/or a face-to-face confirmation.

 

 

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