The Diocese of Trenton has issued an alert regarding reports of email and text scams that will use the name of a pastor to solicit funds in the form of gift cards or cash donations.
The warning follows a recent report on CBS Philly about parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia being targeted. The email usually begins with a simple “Hi,” but no recipients’ name, and asks for financial help for a worthy cause. The pastor’s name concludes the request.
Several pastors in the Diocese of Trenton have already heard from parishioners who received emails or text messages, seemingly from the pastor, asking for donations.
The Diocese takes this opportunity to advise parishioners that pastors do not raise money in this manner and to exercise the utmost caution when receiving this type of communication.
Some law enforcement in the area urge parishioners to question any email or text that doesn’t come from a person in their contacts. If the person is not known, a parishioner should call the person asking for funds to verify the story. If a pastor’s name is used, parishioners should contact the parish to verify the legitimacy of the appeal.
Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of this type of scam is urged to contact their local police department.