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Preventing email and text scams

JEFFERSON CITY — The Diocese of Jefferson City warns the public of an ongoing phishing scam involving emails and texts purportedly from Bishop McKnight, diocesan priests or parish/Chancery staff. This scam has hit many parishes across the United States, as well as other faith communities. The Federal Trade Commission provided information on this scam in July 2019. The email or text purports to be from a person the target knows, such as one’s pastor, a parish staff member, the bishop or someone else from the Church. If the target responds to the fake email or text, the sender will follow up with a request for some sort of monetary assistance, often for gift cards, Google Play cards or iTune cards.

Scammer Toolkit

It is truly unfortunate cyber criminals will attempt to exploit the generous nature of our community. Sending emails or texts asking for cash or gifts cards is not how priests, parishes or the Diocese of Jefferson City seeks financial assistance for our work. If you receive an email or text from a trusted church personnel asking for assistance, confirm by calling that person and do NOT respond to the email or text.

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.

Report gift card scams

Amazon

  • Call 1 (888) 280-4331
  • Learn about Amazon gift card scams here.

Google Play

  • Call 1 (855) 466-4438
  • Report gift card scams online here.
  • Learn about Google Play gift card scams here.

iTunes

  • Call Apple Support at 1 (800) 275-2273, then say “gift card” to be connected to a live representative.
  • Learn about iTunes gift card scams and how to report them here.

Steam

  • If you have a Steam account, you can report gift card scams online here.
  • Learn about Steam gift card scams here.

MoneyPak

  • Call 1 (866) 795-7969
  • Report a MoneyPak card scam online here.