May 9, 2023 – It didn’t take long for the scammers to start sending emails that appear to be from Mtr. Leslie. Reports of fake emails started rolling in as soon as we added her to our church website! Below is an example of one of these “phishing” emails. Note the fake “from” address. Emails from St. John’s clergy will ALWAYS come from an official saint-john.org account. If something looks suspicious, we suggest checking to see who the email is from. This can be done by “right-clicking” on the message in your preview pane or mobile inbox and previewing its contents.
Most of these emails ask the recipient to purchase gift cards or to reach out to help with “a favor.” Typically, they use phrases such as “Immediate attention required,” or “Urgent request.” If you reply, you could be prompted for more information and/or redirected to a phony website that is designed to harvest your financial information. Remember, St. John’s will NEVER contact you by email with a request to purchase gift cards, nor will we ask for personal verification information by email.
Please know we ARE aware of the situation. Be safe and contact the church office staff at (850) 222-2636 if you have questions or if you need clarification on precautions to take when receiving spam emails. We are happy to help!
October 6, 2022 – We’ve received reports from a number of parishioners today regarding of a new round of fake emails that look like this. If you reply to the email, you’ll typically receive a follow up asking you to purchase gift cards.
Please rest assured that neither Fr. Lonnie nor the Episcopal Diocese of Florida will ever solicit money or make such a request via email for any reason. Any such requests are fraudulent and should be ignored and deleted.
There has been a recent rise in “phishing” scams, or fake emails attempting to secure your personal or financial information. Churches are a particular target. Typically, scammers create a fake email similar to that of your priest or bishop, and then send out a request to a broad range of people in the church or diocese.
Always ensure that email is from the named person before you share any information or make any purchases. Look closely at the email. Is it really from the stated person? Call the person to make sure. Fr. Lonnie will only email from his St. John’s email address (email@example.com) and if it’s not from that address, it’s not official.
Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns, and thank you your patience and for making us aware that St. John’s has been the target of a phishing scam.