AUSTIN (KXAN) — Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a consumer alert regarding people who are texting church members and pretending to be priests/pastors in order to get them to buy gift cards for a fake charitable cause.
The scammers claim these gift cards are needed for some charitable reason, but insist they cannot pick up a gift card themselves and the purchaser will be reimbursed.
Paxton said in a statement:
“All Texans should be aware of unsolicited calls and texts from scammers impersonating leaders in their church. This is a dirty trick criminals are using to make a quick buck at the expense of people of faith. My office stands ready to assist all hard-working Texans who are harmed by these schemes. The consumer protection section of our website contains several resources on how to recognize, prevent and report scams like this. Being informed and remaining vigilant is the best way to prevent fraud and loss.”
It’s believed that the scammers are using information found on churches’ website or in churches’ online bulletins to trick members of the church into sending gift cards. Churches throughout Texas have seen reports of this scam.
Report suspected fraud to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 800-621-0508 or by filing an online complaint at the Texas Attorney General’s site.