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Phishing scam using the names of church pastors’ as bait


An email phishing scam, which was not new, targeted at the church-goers have been picked up again. The scam this time is trying to target new victims who were not affected when it hit for the first time. This phishing scam is framed such that the church members feel an email was sent to them from their minister asking them to contribute to church by buying gift cards and then sending those gift cards to the church.


Though the emails that are being sent seem harmless as they include the name of the local pastor and a legitimate looking email address, but if scrutinized further, it will prove that this email address is not the one that the church normally uses and is actually from a different provider. Also the name of the email sender might look correct in some of the instances, but when seen carefully one may find missing single letter in the name.


In the latest version, the phishers were also using text message as the new tool to attack the users and make them fall prey to their attack. For instance, in an incident of Delray Beach, Florida, the phishers have asked victim to purchase numerous gift cards, and then click a photograph of the same and finally send those photographs to the pastor. The reason why the attackers asked for the gift cards photograph is that the gift cards are having numeric code, which allows scammers to convert these gift cards to actual purchases. In this case, the Delray Beach victim ended up losing $10,500 in the gift card scam.


Steve Weisman from Scamicide warns that "the key to protecting yourself from this scam is to first be skeptical whenever you get a request to wire money or make a payment through any form of gift card because once money has been wired or sent in the form of a gift card, it is gone forever".


Weisman further adds that churches do not solicit gift cards, therefore if anyone is received with an email which asks to send a gift card, the receiver should presume it as a scam. Also, Weisman asks to always confirm legitimacy of request for any kind of donation before making the payment.


» SPAMfighter News - 4/2/2019

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