SECURITY WARNING: PHISHING/SPOOFING SCAM ALERT AFFECTING PARISHIONERS OF ST. THERESA CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ST. THERESA CATHOLIC SCHOOL
Beginning early June 2019, numerous staff and parishioners received text messages asking for “a favor” signed by “Rev. Eurel Manzano.” As of this past week, a new round of text messages has begun, naming “Fr. David Angelino” as the sending party. Additionally, some of these messages arrived via WhatsApp, Facebook, and email.
These messages are a scam, using the technique called spoofing. The goal of spoofing is to trick the recipient into providing information or money to the sender. The most common request by these scammers is to purchase gift-cards (e.g. iTunes, Amazon, Google, etc.) and reply back with the scratch-off PIN from these cards.
No staff member of St. Theresa Catholic Church or St. Theresa Catholic School will ever attempt to contact parishioners or fellow staff members in this manner. If you receive a message from anyone that asks for “a favor” or to send the PIN from scratch-off gift-cards, do not reply to the message. Instead, you should report the phone number to your cellular phone carrier.
This particular mode of spoofing was reported by the National Consumer Affairs office in March 2019. They have reported that churches nationwide have been affected by this. They advise the best course of action as follows:
- Don’t text back. Legitimate companies won’t ask you to verify your identity through unsecured channels, like text or email.
- Don’t click on any links within the message. Links can install malware on your device and take you to spoof sites to try to get your information.
- Report the message to your cell phone carrier’s spam text reporting number. If you’re an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, or Bell customer, you can forward the text to 7726 (SPAM) free of charge.
If you have any questions regarding this special announcement, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.