This is just a reminder to all, that Phishing email and text scams are happening on a regular basis. On several occasions’ parishioners or school families have received emails claiming to come from Fr. Eric or other staff members, but are not actually from them. The email has not been hacked, however scammers have created emails with our information, so that it appears to be coming from us. There have been multiple reports from parishes that many priests are being impersonated by phishers and scammers trying to convince parishioners to send them gift cards or gift card numbers
What these phishers and scammers do is obtain priest and parishioner information from different sources. They then use the information to impersonate the priest and send out emails requesting gift card numbers. When phone numbers are available, fake texts have been sent also.
Please be aware of these types of phishing attacks and scams. If you receive any messages requesting gift cards or gift card numbers, or even a text that says something like, “I need a favor from you, please text me back as soon as possible”, and the sender claims to be Fr Eric, Principal Lootens, or other staff it is a phishing attempt. See this article from the FTC for more information about phishing. Also 5 ways to spot phishing from an online security site.
You should never email or text the numbers from a gift card. Once a scammer has that information, they can immediately drain the gift card and make it worthless.
If the parish ever needs assistance or if I am asking for a donation, I typically will write, call, or visit with you in person. Unless you are expecting me to request assistance or a donation by email or text message, you should confirm that I really am making this request. That confirmation should be made by any other means besides replying to the suspicious email or text you received (which would go back to the scammer).