August 22, 2019
A couple of times in the past six months I received an email was in need of help, what's that all about? Were we hacked?
The internet is a marvelous invention. It keeps us connected, allows almost instantaneous communication, and it has expanded our reach to easily communicate all over the world. It is, in fact, our primary link to our friends in South Sudan.
But the internet is not immune from mischief and not all of it is hacking. Recently, parishioners received an email purportedly concerning the Rector's need for financial support. This is the second such email in six months. Upon learning of this email, the church sent out messages warning that the Rector's email may have been hacked. Such was not the case. It seems, that so far, the church's anti-virus defenses have worked well.
What happened in both cases was spoofing. People are sent emails from a source that looks almost like the Rector's email.
The Rector will not be sending you emails that request you buy gift cards for whatever reason. Though the Rector was honored to know that some folks were ready to respond. Should you receive another email from the rector with such a request, first, check the sending address. The church email for the Rector is firstname.lastname@example.org. If this is not the account, relax, and do nothing.
For more information on these schemes, the following links will are about this phenomenon: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/12/this-social-security-scam-is-just-evil/ and https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/beware-of-tax-scam-emails-and-phone-calls-irs-warns/2019/08/12/c87f2afa-bd1c-11e9-a8b0-7ed8a0d5dc5d_story.html
Working on the internet, as amazing as it is, requires some skepticism and care. Be careful out there. And enjoy connecting!