(Originally published in July and September 2019, June 2020, and just two months ago. Updated and republished today due to recent renewed malicious emails representing themselves as being from our minister.)
Several times in the last couple of years, scammers NOT associated with the church have sent out texts and e-mails (all from gmail.com addresses) that look like they belong to our minister, president or administrator but are NOT associated with any of them, or with the church in any way. The messages ask for financial or other unspecified assistance and encourage a discreet response or ask people to send money or gift cards to the person who sent the original note.
The scam has now popped up again, so we want to renew our warnings. Here are some of the addresses used by the fake e-mails (again, note that all of them are GMail addresses, which we do NOT use for church business):
Please note that these addresses do NOT belong to Rev. Jeremiah or to any other staff member at our church.
Here are the texts of some of the fake notes:
A few months ago (via text):
“I pray that your family are safe and well. Do you have a moment? I have a request I need you to handle discreetly. I am currently busy in a prayer session, no calls just reply to my text. Peace and love, Pastor Jeremiah Kalendae.”
Previously we’ve seen (via GMail):
“Available? Write back.”
Blessings,Rev Jeremiah Kalendae”
And another one:
“Do you have a moment I have a request i need you to handle discreetly. I’m a little busy at the moment, no calls so just reply my email. Thanks”
Please note that THESE MESSAGES ARE NOT FROM ANYONE AT UUSM…AND THE ADDRESSES DO NOT BELONG TO THE CHURCH. All official UUSM correspondence these days comes from addresses ending in @uusm.org, NOT from anything at gmail.com
If you receive one of the scam emails, please do NOT click on anything in it, do NOT reply to the email, and do NOT send any money to the person who sent the email.
For more on phishing scams and how you can recognize them, see phishingquiz.withgoogle.com/
Finally, if you use Gmail and have received an email from the address shown above above, or from any other address that looks like it’s from the church but ends in @gmail.com and not @uusm.org, please report it to Google by following these steps:
- Open your Gmail inbox and click to open the phishing message.
- Click or tap the three-dot “More” menu next to the Reply button.
- Click or tap “Report phishing” to open the pop-up window, then click “Report phishing.” The message is forwarded to the Gmail Team.
Also, users of any email program can report the emails to the federal government by forwarding the messages to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org and reporting it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.