Georgia pastor says scammers used his identity to try to con one of his church members, BBB says it can happen in Alabama

Warning about thieves posing as pastors to steal money
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:49 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A warning tonight about scammers posing as leaders of your places of worship to get something from you.

It’s already happened in Georgia and Florida and the Better Business Bureau said it’s only a matter of time before it happens here in Alabama.

This recently happened to a pastor in Georgia who’s originally from our area.

He said the scammer had apparently done their homework because they seemed to know him and the members of his church.

Now he wants to warn you about this new scam.

“The text message was very, very sketchy.”

Pastor of First Baptist Church in Breman, Georgia, Hunter Roe, said he got a call Sunday afternoon from one of his church members saying they received a text from someone claiming to be him.

“They could not talk on the phone, claimed it was me because I was in a prayer meeting so that all I could do was text message,” Pastor Roe said.

It’s unclear what this person was after, but Pastor Roe said the fact they were pretending to be him, made it clear they were up to no good.

And what makes the situation even more peculiar is that the apparent scammer seemed to know him and his church members.

“They knew I was a pastor, so they used the example of a prayer meeting to set the scene for why they were requesting information. They have actually spelled my name correctly, they spelled the lady’s name correctly that they texted. Whoever this scammer was, they had done their homework,” Pastor Roe explained.

And it’s happening in other neighboring states too.

A sheriff’s department in Florida warning about the same scam.

Same message, but a different pastor.

Roe said he’s thankful his church member had the presence of mind to call him before replying to the text.

“And I told her I appreciate that very much because I said for one, I’m not planning on texting during a prayer meeting,” Pastor Roe said.

The Better Business Bureau calling it an old phishing scheme with a new twist.

“Ask questions make people answer the questions, and then that can provide additional information and can provide you additional insight on whether or not something you might be dealing with is real or not,” said Vice President of Communications with the BBB, Garet Smitherman.

The BBB said scams like this are often effective because people don’t stop to see who’s actually sending the message and analyze what it’s really asking before they respond.

They said taking a beat before responding can save you a lot of trouble.

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