Scammers are now targeting churches to get your personal information

Scammers are now targeting churches to get your personal information

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — There are renewed warnings about an email scam targeting churches and parents of students at religious schools.

Channel 2's Tom Regan learned the scammers have sent emails pretending to be pastors and asking for gift cards.

'They prey on the good will of good people," said the Rev. Neil Herlihy of St. Brigid Catholic Church.

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Teresa Rohmiller, the director of finance for the church, opened an email this week that immediately looked suspicious. It was phony, one of many sent out in Herlihy's name.

Herlihy showed Regan copies of the phony emails, which usually request gift cards for someone in need. One of the emails even said they were for someone with cancer.

"Indicating I'm at the hospital ministering to a parishioner, who is in need, and they would like some I-Tunes to cheer them up," the pastor said. "And can they go out and buy $200 worth of I-Tunes card. Send the routing numbers and I'll pay you back when I can."


Herlihy told Regan the scammers strike every couple of months getting email addresses from church websites, bulletins and other sources.

The church's secretary Daisey Davidow told Regan she knew of only one parishioner who actually bought gift cards, but lost only $100.

I feel bad because we have a lot of senior parishioners who fall for them and don't realize, but we do send email warning throughout constant contact, and they will respond," Davidow said.

The pastor says whenever a new scam pops ups, he gives a warning from the pulpit and through email. The archdiocese has also been vocal in alerting church members to the scams.

"Fortunately most of our parishioners are very savvy, they notify the office when it happens," Herlihy said.