While we have considered the spiritual threats that come into our lives through our summer study of Pilgrim’s Progress, it is also important that we recognize earthly threats that would seek to cause us harm. Our staff is aware of attempts to lure people into scams by using our names in fraudulent text messages. This is not a situation unique to our church. Over the past few years, there has been a drastic increase in the use of these text messaging scams. Many of these messages will be from people claiming to be from the government, some form of customer service, or even a trusted person within the church. To protect you from these scams, we would like to offer a few simple tips to help ensure that your personal information is protected.
First, we will never send you a message requesting money. Second, we will never send you a message from a number that is not ours asking you to contact us. Third, we will never send you a message with an “unusual” link. All three of these are used by scammers to trick unsuspecting people into their scams. These text messages may come from local or long-distance numbers, or even from an email address.
If you do receive a message from an unknown number (or email), do not reply. If you do reply, scammers will know that you may be susceptible to future scams and may share your contact information with other scammers. Likewise, if you receive a message from an unknown number (or email) that contains a link, do not click on the link. There is a chance your device may be infected with malicious software or your private information may be compromised. We would also encourage you to report any suspicious text messages to your carrier and block these numbers in your phone.
Occasionally, our staff will send out church-wide text messages to our members through Breeze. These messages will come from a five-digit number (ex. 874-47 or 961-67). We ask that you do not reply to these messages as well, as Breeze messaging is a one-way service and is not capable of receiving replies. If you receive one of these messages and would like to reply, please reply directly to Brad and/or Heath. Our aim is to only use the Breeze text messaging service for urgent alerts and important announcements or reminders.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. I would be glad to talk with you about other steps you can take to keep your personal information secure.
Grace and peace,