Scammers posing as pastors target church members

Sara Vanden Berge

Scamming people out of their hard-earned cash is bad enough, but when the scammer poses as a pastor, well, that’s just a different kind of low.

But that very thing has happened to at least two churches in the area, prompting the Stephenville Police Department to issue a scam alert on social media.

“On two different occasions reported to us, someone is posing as a pastor and sending text messages to members of a congregation asking them to buy gift cards for another church member and send (the gift cards) to a certain location,” Stephenville Assistant Police Chief Jason Halsey said. “What’s odd is that there is some sophistication to the scam because they know the name of the person they are texting.”

The intended victims were members of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church and Faith Lutheran Church.

“To my knowledge, no one has fallen for the scam but we want the public to be aware of it,” Halsey said. “You should be suspicious anytime anyone asks you for gift card numbers, pre-paid debit card numbers or bank or wire transfers - it’s a red flag indicating it’s probably a scam.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the SPD at 918-1273.