Earlier this week, members received emails from a scammer posing as Pastor TJ. Anyone who responded to the initial email received a reply asking for help with purchasing gift cards as a “discreet” matter. To be clear, this is a popular scam which relies upon the trust and relational nature of churches and other nonprofit organizations. While we do all we can to prevent these impersonations, there is no foolproof method. In this instance, it appears members of our staff were targeted by a clever “spear phishing” campaign to log into the church directory, enabling them to initiate the scam more broadly. As soon as the cause was identified, the scammer lost access to the directory.
- Pastor TJ will only contact you from his official church address. If an email seems suspicious, check the “from” line. Scammers are tricky, so it may look similar. But if the email ends with anything other than @spcboise.org then it is a scam.
- Pastor TJ will only call/text you from the office number or his work cell phone. Both are 208 area codes.
- TJ and other staff members will never send you emails or text messages asking you for discreet favors, requesting gift cards, etc.
- Scam messages often contain spelling and grammatical errors. Also, the initial contact will often be vague enough to convince you to reply.
- If you ever doubt whether a request is legitimate, call the church directly to confirm before taking any action.
- Help to spread the word! It’s always helpful to share with your friends and pew-mates; particularly those most vulnerable to falling for such a scam.
- Our email system, file storage, member database, and online giving platform are all secure and have not been impacted by this scam.