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There are a number of concerning reports of emails that look as though they are from United Church congregational ministers, and Regional Council staff and executive members, but they are fake messages carrying a simple, yet sophisticated scam. The messages impersonate the minister, sometimes doing enough research to mimic their personality or writing style.
The content of the scam messages are varied, but always have a personal ask for help. The message asks the reader to purchase gift cards, take photos of those cards, and send the images back to the impersonator. This scam preys on our desire to be in ministry together, helping out where we can.

Please know that PMRC leaders (ministers, regional staff etc) will not email you to ask for help (financial, emotional, etc), and will not ask you to keep correspondence a secret nor ask you not to contact them by phone.

If you get an email that looks like it has come from someone you know AND trust, but suspect it is spam, please follow these 4 steps:

  1. don't click on any links in the email
  2. don't open any attachments attached to the email 
  3. don't use the Reply feature to respond to the email
  4. delete the email

If you feel and think that the email may be a legitimate message you can:  

  • hover your cursor over the From name to reveal the email address that the sender has used. If the details are different from the minister or church staff person's usual email address, it is not legitimate and follow the 4 steps above
  • call the minister or staff person who is supposedly sending the email, or
  • compose a NEW email (not Reply to) to the staff person or leader, using their trusted email address, to gain clarity and information about the email you received.