Scammers targeting church ministers’ email


Parishoner vigilance is needed after recent incidences of scammers impersonating church ministers are causing concern to the ministers and the recipients of the bogus emails.

Stuff reports, 11 November, that the scammer created a similar email address to Timaru Presbyterian minister, Reverend Rory Grant (pictured) and asked recipients to buy gift vouchers for a non-existent cancer patient.

Grant discovered the scam when his office phoned asking about an unusual email they had received from him!

Those who only had a quick look at the email address may have thought it was legitimate because the scammer used an email address similar to Grant’s real email address.

Grant is unsure how many people received the scam email but was certain the parish website had not been hacked and all the accounts were secure.

Stuff reports the fake emails were personalised and written in English using correct grammar and without spelling errors.

They told the recipient Grant was in a meeting but needed Steam Wallet gift cards which he promised to a cancer patient for their birthday and that Grant would reimburse them.

Grant doubts people will have been duped by it but has reported the incident to the national office of the New Zealand Presbyterian Church.

He also placed a warning notice of the scam on the parish website.

Grant’s is not the only Church email address to be scammed and a New Zealand Police spokesperson said cyberattacks were becoming increasingly more common and in varying forms.

“Don’t believe everything you read make sure it comes from a reliable source,” the spokesperson said.

An independent security advisor told CathNews that if an email seems out of the blue or is too good to be true, be very careful, do not click a link in the email, do not open an attachment and never reply to an unsolicited or untrusted sender.

She says these sorts of messages ought be forwarded to the Department of Internal Affairs via their website:

Netsafe, New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation is urging people to be extra vigilant at the moment during COVID-19 as scammers look to be extra creative and lure people in and engage with them.

The online safety organisation advises that a person contacting makes contact saying they are from a legitimate organisation and you’re not sure, contact the organisation using the organisation’s official website and not the one provided in the email.


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News category: New Zealand.

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