It was brought to our attention that a congregant's email was hacked a couple of weeks ago, and the message was that they "needed help on Amazon". This is called a Gift Card Scam.
What is the gift card scam?
You may receive an email that looks like it comes from someone you know, saying something like: "Can you do me a favor?" If you reply, the next email asks you to purchase a gift card on their behalf. The message may say they need the card immediately, but they are too busy to do it, and they will pay you back as soon as possible.
These emails are not legitimate. They are being sent by malicious individuals who are impersonating people in your contacts list to gain your trust and exploit you. These kinds of fraudulent emails, known as "phishing", attempt to gain your trust to access your personal and/or credit card information, or to get money (in the form of gift cards).
DO NOT click any links or reply to such messages. Delete these emails immediately!
Emails from the Church Staff
Emails have been sent using the staff's names, but the email addresses are not correct. Our email address looks like email@example.com. The email will usually say that we are busy in a meeting and cannot be contacted and then there is the request to purchase gift cards. The staff at LPCC would never ask you to purchase gift cards on our behalf.
If you get a suspicious email using a staff members name, DO NOT click any links or reply to such messages. Delete these emails immediately!
We have also heard about phone calls from grandchildren who need bail money because they are in jail, outstanding taxes owing to the government and problems with your social insurance number. Please err on the side of caution and try to get a trustworthy member of your family to verify or contact the organization directly to confirm any situation that sounds suspicious.
What You Can Do Now Online
Change your password to your email account often and don't use something someone can figure out (like your birthday) or use your name as your password. Use different passwords for different accounts and mix in capital letters and symbols.
If you are unsure about something you have received from Lawrence Park Community Church or from another church member, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.