Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell
Ministry Associate for Social Media
There is a scam that is targeting churches across the country that our Evergreen congregations need to be aware of, in that people are impersonating the pastor of a church and sending emails to request money. An email is sent presuming to be from the pastor asking for support for an immediate emergency need. The “pastor” requests that donations be made in the form of gift cards. The email address may appear as the pastor’s correct email, masked by the scammer. Often, you can click on the sender’s name in the email to see the full email address. However, some scammers are able to mask the entire email address, or the address will be off by one letter or number, easily missed by someone not carefully reading.
The best way to make sure a request is real is to contact the pastor by phone or to send a new email (do not reply, as that will go back to the scammer). Also, churches should have policies in place about collecting money online and how they would collect donations, and whether or not they would ever accept gift cards. See my previous article on Online Giving for safe ways for churches to collect funds.
Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchel