Several congregations have reported that their members or staff are receiving scam emails requesting gift card donations for a charitable cause. These emails may appear to come from your minister or other congregational leaders. We advise you to inform your members and staff about this scam and educate them on the official channels your congregation uses to accept donations.
The UUA has seen an increase in “phishing” attempts of all kinds. Phishing is a form of “social engineering” whereby a hacker with bad intentions sends an email (or text or phone call), pretending to be someone the recipient trusts, and asks the recipient to take an action which can have adverse effects. Sometimes, they request money. Other times, they invite the recipient to click a link or open an attachment that can trigger malicious code.
A good rule of thumb with emails you’re not expecting is to: (1) reach out to the sender through another channel (call, text, visit website) and (2) not click on a link (or send money, gift cards, etc.) or without clarifying from the trusted source.