News

Actions

Criminals are posing as pastors, reverends and priests to swindle church members out of money

Posted at 5:27 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 06:27:30-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An old scam that targets church-goers has been picked up and dusted off, hoping to find new victims it didn’t hit the first time around.

Criminals are posing as pastors, reverends and priests to try to swindle church members at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church out of money.

The text message will read: “Hi Ned, I need a favor from you, please text back as soon as possible. Father Frank Martinez. "

“No, they don’t have any boundaries at all. They are pretending to be a Catholic priest,

pretending to be a pastor of this church and other churches, and they are just taking advantage of the good nature of people,” said Deacon Fred Castillo.

It is possible scammers are finding names, email addresses and phone numbers of church members on church websites, church social media pages, and church newsletters.

“They text then they ask them to go purchase either Amazon cards or iTunes cards. Once they do that, they are asking to take a picture of the back of the scratch off codes.

And that is how they scam the money off of parishioners,” said Castillo.

The problem is definitely not limited to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

They are asking the community if you receive a message asking for money or gift cards, do not respond or

call the number back and report the scammer's text message to your cell phone carrier's spam text reporting number.

Again, if you receive a message asking for money, especially gift cards, that is a red flag that the communication is coming from scammers.