Unfortunately, scamming is a growing problem today, and the church is not immune.
Last Sabbath various pastors and members across Wisconsin received emails which seemingly came from Titus Naftanaila, our conference president, saying, “I have a request I need to handle discreetly. I am in a meeting. No calls, just reply to my email.” They used his name with a slightly incorrect email address. Another scam email used our president’s name asking members to purchase gift cards for Veterans needing COVID care, and were assured they would be reimbursed. Various pastors have had similar scam experiences in recent years.
Because of church member’s generosity and willingness to help others in need, scammers frequently target Christians in affinity fraud. Before responding to any appeal, contact the person you know by another method, and ask him or her if the communication is legitimate. Do not reply to the email or text directly. Protect yourself and the church organization by simply not responding. Conference employees do not solicit information in this way. Do not give out any information, and never send money to an email request. Scammers can be very authentic and official sounding, and often try to make you feel emotional, fearful, or charitable about something. Do not believe them. Stop, think, and verify before responding if anything at all seems slightly unusual or you do not recognize it.
Be alert. Protect yourself and your church.