Concerns: Novena email a scam

Novena email scam

A novena sent by email doing the rounds in New Zealand has left a number of recipients concerned it is a scam.

The novena asks that Jacinda Ardern and her advisors, Grant Robertson, Chris Hipkins, Andrew Little and Dr Ashley Bloomfield “always seek the ways of righteousness, justice and mercy and to lead the country with honesty and integrity”.

The novena then asks people to pray the Our Father and Hail Mary.

A novena is an ancient devotional prayer tradition repeated over a period of nine days or in some cases nine weeks, and CathNews was sent a copy asking if it had anything to do with the email’s circulation.

The correspondent wondered if CathNews might have sold its email list.

He explained that he contacted CathNews because of Netsafe’s advice to be vigilant of possible email scams and wondered if the novena email might be an example.

“It is not something I signed up for, I don’t want it and I don’t know how to unsubscribe”, another correspondent said.

“I’m not opposed to praying for all our leaders and do so regularly. Why did I receive it?”

Yet another phoned wanting to know how to get off the list.

He said he admired their devotion but did not know the person who sent the email, there is no group affiliation and most importantly there is no public way of unsubscribing.

“I didn’t sign up for it in the first place!”, he said.

Speaking on behalf of the publisher, Fr John Murphy SM said CathNews has not sold nor given its email list to anyone.

“People give us their email address for a particular purpose and we respect that”, he said.

Murphy says CathNews has a reasonable number on its email list and periodically has been asked if others could have it, or if we could send emails on their behalf, but the answer is always ‘no’.

From what he has seen of the email and the email’s header, of itself, he does not think it is a scam.

“Communications is the Church’s ‘bread and butter’ and it’s a bit disappointing, albeit well-intentioned individuals and organisations are not using proper email protocols and email list providers to manage group email sent to interested participants”, he said.

A quick search for email list providers shows a good number have a free tier for smaller volume senders and charitable rates for larger organisations.

As well as giving people the option to manage their involvement, using an email list provider is the right thing to do, a way of letting people know a little more about the sender and gives recipients a way to opt-in and opt-out.

Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , ,