Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This alert is being sent to you out of love and concern. While I was out-of-town this weekend, it came to my attention that someone (posing as me and using my name) sent out an email trying to get people to buy gift cards. The made-up story in the email stated that I needed the cards to help a group of cancer patients. Upon a willing donor buying gift cards, the perpetrators then ask the person to scrape off the back of the cards, take pictures of the numbers on the cards and email the pictures so the cards can be used remotely.
Please be advised that this is a scam and the emails did NOT come from me . My email has not been hacked, but someone is posing as me – trying to take advantage of my role as a pastor and your love, care and generosity to help others. This scam is not new. Someone tried the same type of thing a year or two ago using Pastor Dorth’s name. We have met with the West Bend Police Department and they are investigating. The WBPD suggested that we communicate with all of you as quickly as possible.
St. John’s pastoral team (or anyone on staff) will never communicate via personal email asking for gifts to be transacted in such a manner. We always work through our carefully established St. John’s structures and protocols for transparency, protection, trackability and efficiency. When in doubt check it out. Before you are inclined to act on your willingness to help, please talk with us personally. There is never a rush (no matter what the story is). So stop, evaluate and talk with us personally so we can work through what is real and what is fake. If you get any of these emails, please delete them and do not click on any links or attachments.
It is a broken world and scams are real. Let us remember what Jesus told His followers in Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We pray for these fraudsters and call on them to repent, confess their sin, turn away from this behavior and trust that Jesus has forgiven them. We also thank the Lord for all law enforcement, and specifically we thank the West Bend Police Department for their work and protection.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the church office at (262) 334-4901.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Jeff Hesse