Scammers Target Scranton Diocese Staff & Impersonate Priest By Text Message

SCRANTON, PA (APRIL 11, 2019) – The Diocese of Scranton is warning its parishioners to be on alert, and not fall victim, to a new scam that has popped up.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, two employees from the Diocese of Scranton received text messages on their cell phones from someone claiming to be one of our priests and asking that the recipients buy gift cards for him.
While neither employee fell victim to the scam, a similar situation was also reported recently in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and some Diocesan parishioners reported getting text messages as well.

The Diocese of Scranton reminds everyone if you are ever concerned about a message that you receive, whether by text message or email, verify it before you take any action. In the instances reported this week, the person impersonating a priest asked each recipient to purchase $500 in gift cards for his niece as a birthday present because he was checking on a friend in the hospital.

Additional reminders for the public to not fall victims to a scam include:

Don’t click on any links or open attachments in unsolicited texts or emails

Be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone you’ve only met by social media or text message if you don’t know who they are

Don’t be pressured to act immediately

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