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Beware Scammers!

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There’s a common email scam out there targeting churches and church goers. In it, the scammer creates an email address similar to the one someone you know uses, often your minister. They pretend to be that person and then ask you to do them a favour and buy gift cards, or send money, or even just try and get your personal information. They may say they are in a meeting, or have a sore throat and can’t talk on the phone right now to prevent you from calling to double check.

Several churches and ministers in the Kootenays have been targeted by this scam in recent months.

If you get one of these emails, don’t answer. Check the email address against the one you already have for that person. Send them a message at their REAL email address, or call, text, or message them another way to let them know someone is impersonating them so they can warn their family, friends and church members. If the scammer is using a Gmail account, you can report it by forwarding the message to abuse@gmail.com. Yahoo and Hotmail also have abuse addresses.

The scammers prey on people who don’t understand much about email scams, gift cards, and online shopping, or how to double check the actual email address of the sender. They also flatter people and make them feel like they are somehow special to the minister or play to their sense of loyalty to church and friends.

If you have fallen victim to one of these scams, please report it to the RCMP. They probably won’t be able to get your money back, but they might be able to stop the scammers from cheating someone else.

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