Please inform your congregation about another type of holiday scam to watch out for. People are posing as clergy or representatives from a church and asking people to buy gift cards for charity and respond with the gift card number and PIN to cash it in. The scam has impersonated Desert Southwest Conference churches already by email and text. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the scam isn’t limited to email and text messages. Sometimes people become victims of this scam because of a phone call.
Clergy tip: Scammers are collecting phone numbers and emails from church newsletters. Consider removing that information from future newsletters and removing that information from archived newsletters on your church website.
If you or someone you know paid a scammer with a gift card, report it as soon as possible. Call the card company and tell them the gift card was used in a scam. Here is contact information for some of the gift card companies that scammers use most often. Then, tell the FTC about it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports may help law enforcement agencies launch investigations that could stop imposters and other fraudsters in their tracks.