LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (October 29, 2019) – Arkansas United Methodist Church members have recently been the targets of a new phishing scam that is making its way around the state.

Scammers are claiming to be clergy of United Methodist Churches in Arkansas and are reaching out to members to solicit gift cards, checks, and other forms of payment. Many of these messages claim that a friend or family member is ill and they have been asked to collect funding to assist them.

The scammers are creating email addresses with pastors’ names in them, which mimic the email addresses that clergy use to stay in contact with their congregations.

These email addresses typically include the pastor’s name and their church’s name and often end with @gmail, @yahoo, or other popular email service providers.

Some members have also received text messages from unknown numbers claiming to be their pastor and asking for iTunes or eBay gift cards.

The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church is asking Methodists in Arkansas to be on the lookout for suspicious messages from people claiming to be their pastor, district superintendent, or Bishop Gary Mueller.

The Arkansas Conference will never solicit personal payment through text messages, emails, or other forms of digital communication.

If you or someone you know receives a suspicious message asking for money, please forward your message to Palmer Lee, palmer.lee@arumc.org.

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Media Contacts:
Amy Ezell, Director of the Center for Communication
amy.ezell@arumc.org, 501-324-8030

Caleb Hennington, Digital Content Editor
caleb.hennington@arumc.org, 501-324-8037