Local churches warn members of email scam

CSRA News

MARTINEZ, Ga. (WJBF) – Some local churches report being victims of an email scam.

This scam seems to impact local Episcopal churches. And during this season when many people like to give, pastors want their parishioners to watch out.

“When people see a communication from what appears to be somebody they trust, it’s a vulnerability,” said Rev. Al Crumpton, Church of Our Savior Rector.

Church goers need to beware. While it is more blessed to give than to receive, not everyone means well.

“I think the message for the greater community would be if you see something from somebody that you know and it doesn’t look right, question it,” he said.

Church of Our Savior Rector Rev. Al Crumpton knows what it’s like to have his church members scammed.

“Interestingly, they put the person’s name in the email and said please get back in touch with me when you get a chance,” Rev. Crumpton said. “They put my name, my title and everything at the bottom, but it wasn’t in the tone that I would normally use.”

This incident happened back in March. But several other Episcopal churches, about a fourth of the dozen or so that NewsChannel 6 contacted, report email phishing scams.

In most cases, someone created a fake email address similar to the rector’s email and then contacted members requesting a gift card for the needy. We spoke with the rector at Church of the Holy Comforter about a recent scam happening to her church again. She said one person actually made a purchase. Rev. Dr. Cynthia Taylor warned members on Facebook to “make sure to check that it is her email.”

It’s a similar message sent out by Rev. Crumpton.

“The response was we sent out a mass email to the congregation alerting them to the correct email address and to know that they would only receive emails from my official email from the church,” he said.

Rev. Crumpton said he’s not surprised due to the way technology is today. But he said using that same resource can help stop those predators in their tracks.

“Get it out there as quickly as possible and through all of our communication channels,” he said.

Even though this seems to have impacted the Episcopalian community, any church or business can fall victim to this scam.

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