I'm writing to alert you to the fact that - once again - someone has set up a Gmail account in my name using my photo to try and scam staff and church members. I also note that someone pretending to be me recently texted church members with requests for cash and/or gift cards.
Please be assured that I will never ask for money, gift cards, or urgent assistance by email or text message. The key is to not reply to these emails. Delete them upon receipt.
From our friends at St. James, who are experiencing similar shenanigans:
Delete scam emails immediately.
Trust your gut! The church staff does not send out emails asking for immediate replies or for money (wires/gift card numbers/credit card information) to individuals. We will call if there is an immediate need.
Check the email address. For instance, if it is not from a "@stlukesbr.org" address, then it is not from a church staff member.
Call the individual or church office directly to confirm authenticity before replying.
Use a good virus protector that scans for malware and that is scheduled regularly to update and check your computer.
Do not send emails to a large number of people using the "To" line, but rather send the email using the "Bcc" line to hide the addresses. This protects the identity of those you are emailing.