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Resources & Curricula
May 27, 2022

Imposter Text Message and Email Reminder

In light of recent email and text message scams, remember - if you receive a text message or email that looks like it is from your priest, church administrator, diocesan staff member, or bishop requesting a “favor” and instructing you to reply discreetly, do not reply and delete the message.

Please note that Bishop David Reed, Bishop Rayford High, and other diocesan staff members will never ask anyone to "run an errand" for them or purchase gift cards in this manner.

Senders of these fake requests, categorized by the Federal Trade Commission as "imposter scams," will pretend to be someone trustworthy or in a leadership position to convince recipients to send them money, usually in the form of gift cards. Advances in technology even allow these text messages to address the recipient by name or to use fake email addresses that appear almost identical to the original.

If you receive an email or text message asking for an urgent favor or errand without any details and the sender discourages you from calling because "they are in a meeting:"

  • Call the person being impersonated, using a phone number listed in your personal contact list, to confirm whether the request is legitimate.
  • Contact the church or diocesan office to see if others have received similar requests.
  • Do not reply to the email or text message; mark it as Spam or Junk, and delete it.

Other ways to verify an email or text message include:

  • Confirm the email address matches the sender's display name by viewing the email in a computer, then hovering your cursor over the “From” email address.
  • Double-check the sender's phone number or email address, by comparing it to one they have used to communicate with you in the past or that you may have saved in your Contact List.
  • Pay attention to mistakes or misspelled words in the message. For example, the wrong name or title is signed at the bottom of the message.

Please consider sharing this reminder with others who may be unaware of these kinds of email or text message scams. It is important to remind everyone what kind of communications and requests they can expect from their priest, their church, and the diocese to help them identify when an email or text message is suspicious.

The expert consensus is that the best way to combat these scams is to learn how to recognize them, to notify the person being impersonated, and to report the fraudulent email to the provider (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). The Federal Trade Commission also has an online complaint assistant, at reportfraud.ftc.gov, especially if gift cards have been purchased.

If you have questions or concerns, contact the Diocesan Communications Office, at communications@dwtx.org.

More Information:

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