People of St. John’s an important issue has come to my attention. 

One of our members called me and asked why I was texting them and asking them to purchase visa cards and send the receipt to an email (the email they were given is not mine.)   They told me that this was done several times.  I told them I never texted a request for funds and I would never do that.  We both agreed that they needed to contact the police and I asked them to have that officer contact me.   The officer explained what was going on and advised me on how to help prevent this from happening again.

First –  Please know that I would never send a text message asking you to send funds somewhere.  Everything we collect to help others goes through the church and the regular channels.

Second - When a text comes in to you, do not accept the suggestion to update the contact number!  (this is how they get you to respond to their number).  I only have this one number that is posted on our church page and all our bulletins and correspondence. (This is how they had my number and information to fool others.)  Any other number is fake!

Third – Beware of everything you do online – it is easy for people to be tricked into thinking that they are responding to the actual person.  Before responding to a request, call the person and ask them if they sent the request.

Fourth – the person whose number is being used is totally unaware that this is happening – they never receive a text response because texts go to a different number that was created through the updates.

Fifth - Because the person finally called me, we became aware of what was happening and we both were able to take measures to get this under control.    Be aware that this happens and protect yourself by talking to the person that is making the request.

Finally - Please pray for this person that they will be able to recover the funds that have been stolen from them.