Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, warned congregants on Friday, May 10 that It appears email scammers are targeting our church and other Unitarian Universalist churches across the country. The scam involves using the names of staff members or church leaders with a Gmail address. The first email usually asks for urgent help, and if you reply, the scammer tends to ask for a gift card donation for a charitable cause.
The UUA’s MidAmerica Region has also issued a warning that UU churches have reported their members are receiving these scam emails and that at least one person has lost money to these scams. This scam is also targeting other religious denominations. Read more.
Rev. Molly asked our members and friends to remember that any emails from her will come from her email address ending “@uucomo.org” or through our email list showing an address of “Rev. Molly Housh Gordon via All.” She added, “If you are suspicious about any email from me at any time, please start a new email to me and ask about it. And I will NEVER email you asking for gift cards!”
Our members and friends also should be aware that UUCC only accepts online payments through this website on the Donations and Pledge Payments pages of this website and does not request gift card donations.
The UUA reports it has seen an increase in “phishing” attempts of all kinds. Phishing is a form of “social engineering” whereby a hacker with bad intentions sends an email (or text or phone call) pretending to be someone the recipient trusts and asks the recipient to take an action which can have adverse effects. Sometimes, they request money. Other times, they invite the recipient to click a link or open an attachment that can trigger malicious code.
A good rule of thumb with emails you’re not expecting is to:
- Reach out to the sender through another channel such as a separate email, telephone call, or smartphone text message, and
- Not click on a link (or send money, gift cards, etc.) without getting verification from a trusted source.