Several members of our congregation have received emails that appear to have come from our staff asking them to buy gift cards.
This is a scam!
Peninsula United Church staff will never ask for secrecy or money. PUC fundraising and donations are always through legitimate channels (e.g. CanadaHelps
, Mission & Service). You’re always encouraged to contact the Peninsula United Church Office directly to check the legitimacy of any email that you receive.
Here are some pointers about how to recognize a scam email and what to do when you receive one.
- Please only trust personal staff emails that come from an email with the extension @peninsulaunited.com. Staff emails from other extensions (ie @gmail, @hotmail) are email phishing.
- The scam email will usually ask you not to call the sender but to respond to the email instead. DO NOT reply to the suspected email. Start a new message or call the staff person whom the email was supposedly sent from, to check if they actually sent it.
- Use a critical eye and trust your gut whenever you get an unusual email. If you receive an email from one of our staff members that seems unusual or suspicious — like staff asking for cash, gift cards or Bitcoin - it is a scam. We will never email asking you for money of any kind.
- Also check for oddities in the email address (spelling mistakes in the name, unusual phrasing, from a public domain name such as gmail or hotmail, etc).
- Report any phishing and spam emails to Google – it does actually make a difference.
You are always welcome to contact the Peninsula United Church Office directly (DO NOT reply to the suspect email) to check the legitimacy of any email that you receive.
Caller ID Spoofing
It has also come to our attention that some people have been getting calls that look like they are coming from the Crescent site but it is a recorded message saying that it is from Border Security and that an arrest warrant had been issued in their name. This is a scam. If you get one of these calls, hang up and do not respond as it is from someone spoofing our phone number.
Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Scammers often use neighbour spoofing so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency that you may already know and trust.
We are trying to find out if there is anything we can do, but as with the email phishing, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to stop.
For more information see CRTC phone spoofing.