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Email scam warning

The District has been made aware of an email scam currently going around where people receive emails apparently from their ministers, asking for a favour or for help. 

Below is more detail about this scam.

A church member received an email which showed up as being 'from' the Minister. He had no reason to suspect that it was not from the Minister, as they have email contact about all sorts of church matters. He opened the email. It asked him if he was available, because the sender needed a favour, and was signed from the minister. Still unsuspicious he replied and then received a response asking him to go to a shop and purchase a Google Play card, claiming that the sender had forgotten their niece's birthday and it was urgent.

He became suspicious, then noticed that the grammar and punctuation were poor. He therefore did not respond, but alerted the Minister.

The email address the messages had been sent from, and it was not the Ministers. Instead it was from the email address: office

A few days later the Minister was contacted by another Member, to ask if she had just texted her.

The sender signed as the Minister. claimed to be in a meeting, but to need a favour. She replied to the first message, and was then asked to go to a shop and buy a Google Play card. But  was given a different reason. She was told that the card was needed for a woman who was in hospital battling cancer.

The phone number from which the texts were sent was 07451 200598.

Both people had recently published their contact details in the church Newsletter, which is available to view on the website. It seems likely somebody is trawling the church website looking for people's contact details, and then creating email and phone accounts in the Ministers name in an attempt to scam them.

If you should receive something like this please ensure you mark the email as spam and contact the minister in question (by phone) to inform them. Don't forget to delete the email. 

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