(The message below is from the Diocese of Springfield office.)
This summer we have heard of numerous and varied phone call, internet and text mail scams.
In many instances, the scammers have stepped up their game, researching parish/school/clergy/staff info online (parish bulletins, parish websites, etc) which then allows them to customize the scam to seem more legitimate.
Here are a few helpful hints.
1/ If it seems too good to be true, chances are it is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
2/ If you get a phone call or text/email inquiry regarding a utility bill or credit card issue NEVER respond directly to that caller/sender or to any phone or email info that is provided. If you aren't sure whether it's a scam, look up an old bill or get an official phone number from 411 and call that number to verify.
3/ If any inquiry requests payment in the form of gift cards- IT'S A SCAM.
4/ Alert your parish/school community that you never solicit via email or text messages and that they should view any such communication/inquiry as suspicious and contact the parish/school office directly.
5/ Finally- ALWAYS BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) email addresses when sending large distribution emails. Better yet consider using an email sender service like Constant Contact. Sending emails TO or even CC to multiple email addresses exposes everyone's email address to potential hackers.