Another scam that continues to plague unwary people is the Pastor Text Message Scam about which I first warned you in June of 2017. Recently Pastor Randy Ott became aware that someone wasusing contact information from the Church’s newsletter to send out text messages that appeared to come from Pastor Ott asking for gift card information to be sent under the guise that the money would be used for a hospitalized needy person. Members of the church who trusted the text messages ended up buying gift cards and sending the information to the scammers who were able to use that information to buy goods using the gift cards that would then later be sold to convert the purchases into cash.
The key to protecting yourself from this scam is to first be skeptical whenever you get a request to wire money or make a payment through any form of gift card because once money has been wired or sent in the form of a gift card, it is gone forever which is why these are favorite methods of payment for scammers. As for gift cards, once you provide the numbers from the gift cards, the scammers utilize the gift cards to make purchases that they quickly sell in order to get cash. No church solicits gift cards nor does the IRS which is why when someone posing as a religious institution asks for a payment through a gift card you can be sure it is a scam. The second thing that we all should do is to always confirm the legitimacy of any request for a donation of any kind before making a payment.
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