TO: Priests and Pastoral Administrators
FROM: Kevin Hemphill, Director of IT
RE: Scam Warning — Note of Caution for Diocesan Email Users
Some nefarious international con artists are at it again — establishing and using email accounts in the name of our priests and even our bishop to illicitly solicit gift cards, money, or personal information. To ensure your protection, if you receive a request from one of our clergy, please verify that it is not a scam by speaking directly to them or their appropriate staff through known phone numbers and known email addresses.
Please, never reply to such an email directly, never call any numbers provided in such an email, never click on any links in such an email, until you can verify that it is not a fake.
Below is are some examples of these types of scams:
Example fake email #1:
Note the Gmail address that looks recognizable but on closer inspection clearly does not belong to our Bishop. Please also note the poor English and use of slang.
From: Bishop Luis R. Zarama<email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 1:30 PM
Subject: OUR LORD BLESSINGS BE WITH YOU
Hi Mrs (Redacted),how are you?
I want to send you an errand, email me as soon as you get this message, i’m in a conference meeting right now and only have access to mail that’s why i’m contacting you through here. I should’ve call you instead of mailing you but phone calls ain’t allowed to be use during the short hours i’ll be using here.
All Best Blessing’s.
Bishop.Luis R. Zarama
Example fake email #2:
Note this one of a series of exchanges between the recipient and person impersonating a Priest. The person impersonating the Priest has received a reply from the potential victim and is trying for the score which is to get them to buy gift cards for a sympathetic reason. The scammer would then cash them in or sell them to someone overseas on the “dark web” or in their location and country.
From: St. (Redacted) Catholic Church <Fake.Sender@gmail.com>
Date: Saturday, July 4, 2020
Subject: From Reverend (Redacted / Faked) Priest’s name
I am happy to hear from you, that means you are safe out there.
I’m in a series of meetings right now. I just need to get Nike gift
card or Ebay gift card today for some women going through cancer at
the hospital but I can’t do that right now because of my busy
Can you get it online or from any store around you? Let me know if you
can get the card for these patients.
Reverend (Redacted Impersonated Priest’s Name)
St. (Redacted) Catholic Church
123 Redacted Street
Redacted Town, North Carolina 12345-1234