The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office knows of about three churches in its county alone that are being targeted by a scammer’s latest scheme.
Morrison Zion Lutheran Pastor Randy Ott says several of his parishioners received text messages from someone claiming to be him. The scammer, acting as the pastor, requested people text gift card information to them claiming the gift card funds would go to a hospitalized person in need.
“When we put it on Facebook we heard of other churches where the same thing happened. I called some of my pastor friends and asked them to spread the word to their churches that this is going on because you don’t want to see people being taken advantage of,” said Pastor Ott
Manitowoc County Sheriff Lieutenant Jason Jost says suspects who get that information can then spend the gift card money for themselves.
In a statement, Jost said, “What we want to do is educate them to stay calm, research what’s happened, call someone, in this particular case call your pastor. Call the person you thought you were sending this information to and find out if it’s a scam or if it’s actually legitimate.”
Jost added that these suspects will use fake numbers and many times are calling from overseas making phone scam cases hard to prosecute. Jost says these scammers try to get people to act quickly and play on people’s emotions.