BE ALERT ABOUT UNSAFE EMAIL Recently, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has received several reports from parishes and schools about getting an unusual email that appears to come from their pastor. Most questioned the messages because it was not Father’s regular email address and the message seemed suspicious. Unfortunately, others fell victim to this fraud and lost hundreds of dollars.
This particular phishing scam sends messages to parishes across the country. The body of the message usually indicates that the pastor “needs your help” and directs the reader to contact him right away. The next message then asks you to purchase iTunes cards or other gift cards for someone he is trying to help.
The scammers are even personalizing each message with the recipient’s name so it appears as legitimate as possible. They may be using software to look through parish websites and bulletin files to collect names, emails and phone numbers.
Here at St. St. Paul and Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are trying to alert parishioners to this scam. Some common red flags are:
You do not recognize the sender of the message.
▸The email address does not match the person’s name at all.
▸Misspelling in the sender’s domain or in links (like Micorsoft or Bankofarnerica). ▸When you hover your mouse over a link that displays a different domain than the sender.
▸When the only content in the message is a link, nothing else.
▸Subject lines that do not match the content of the message.
▸Bad grammar or illogical text.
▸Attachments that you were not expecting.
If you receive a message that you are unsure about, please call the parish office (4144823510/4144892806) and confirm with the supposed sender or other parish staff whether the request is legitimate. Since we typically do not ask for help in this manner, you can be fairly certain that any message like this is a scam.