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SCAM Alert for Congregations

By South Dakota Synod | Posted 8/18/17 at 11:26am |
Category: Synod News

Dear Congregational Leaders:

Please be advised of a fraudulent scam threat that is impacting congregations and businesses. There are scammers who are finding names of treasurers on congregational websites, discovering their emails, and emailing them a message from the “pastor” requesting a wire transfer of funds to an independent account – ie: a Wells Fargo account. They initiate contact with the treasurer, pretending to be the pastor. If the treasurer engages through correspondence, the request for a fund transfer is made. Known instances have happened to congregations in Wisconsin and local businesses in South Dakota. In some cases, the banks caught the fraudulent activity before the transaction was approved.

Tips for congregations:
1. Check the email. Is the email coming from your pastor or congregational leader? Check the actual email address and verify. In this case, scammers are creating fake gmail addresses making it appear that it came from your pastor.
2. Verify the transaction with your leader. All expenditures should be supported by proper documentation (i.e., receipt and notation of business purpose).
3. Enforce dual control into your internal control procedures.
4. Report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
Review resources for congregations by clicking here

Sawyer Vanden Heuvel
Director of Communications
South Dakota Synod, ELCA

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Comments:
  • Michael DeKraai  |  Posted 8.30.17 at 3:43 PM   

    I believe this is an example of what your speaking about.

    S. Jerome Elness
    3:29 PM (11 minutes ago)

    to me
    Help! I’m sorry for this odd request because it might get to you too urgent but it’s because of the situation of things right now, I’m in Manila, Philippines right now with my family on Vacation and I’m short on cash right here, I tried to access my account from the cash machines here and it’s not working, I went to the bank to withdraw and I was informed that I cannot withdraw money from my account in some countries,that it’s network errors, I’m thinking if I could get a quick loan of $2,000 from you or anything you can afford to loan me so that I can clear some little things here and also take a cab to the airport. I promise to refund it as soon as I get back home on Friday morning, let me know so I can send you my details.

    Waiting to hear from you.

    Sincerely,
    Pastor S. Jerome Elness
    1237 Mississippi Avenue
    Duluth, Minnesota 55811

    From: Michael DeKraai
    Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 9:37 PM
    To: revellness@hotmail.com
    Subject: Re: How Are You Doing???…….S. Jerome Elness

    How can I help?

    On Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 11:50 AM, S. Jerome Elness wrote:
    Hi there

    Can you do me a favor?

    Sincerely,
    Pastor S. Jerome Elness
    1237 Mississippi Avenue
    Duluth, Minnesota 55811

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