Be Aware of Phishing & Email Scams

Recently, the Church Office has noticed an uptick in phishing emails and other email scams. Be especially cautious opening emails or clicking on links that appear to be from trusted contacts. Here’s some information about these common scams and how to protect yourself against them.

How to Recognize Phishing
Scammers may use email or text messaging to obtain personal and identifying information. “Phishing” refers to a style of scam where the scammer will impersonate trusted contacts or organizations and send fake emails and links. Though scammers often update their tactics, there are some signs you can look for to help you recognize phishing or scam emails.

Phishing emails can often look like they come from someone you know. Be sure to check the email address for the contact before opening any emails or clicking on any links contained therein. If the email doesn’t match the contact’s actual email address, it’s probably a good indication that the email is not trustworthy.

Here’s an example of a common phishing email: 
As you can see above, there are several issues with this email. First, though the contact is from Molly Robertson, the email address listed here in the “from” field is NOT a known email address associated with Molly. Second, any emails containing only a link that redirects to an unofficial site (here, the link is not associated with AUMC and the email gives only minimal info about the link) should be treated with caution. 

Make sure any emails you receive are from the recipient’s email address (AUMC staff email addresses will always end with “”), and if you have any doubt about the origin of the correspondence, confirm via phone call or in person whether the contact has sent you any email.

Gift Card Scams
Another common email scam you may have seen in your inbox is one asking you to purchase gift cards. Often, scammers will ask for you to purchase gift cards and email them the card numbers as a way of making a quick payment. Some signs to look for with this scam include: 
  • You’re directed to purchase more than one gift card (sometimes referred to in the scam emails as “electronic vouchers”).
  • You’re directed to share the numbers on the back of the gift card, either by calling a phone number and reading them off, by sending a picture, or by replying to the email.
  • The request comes from someone you wouldn’t expect to ask for money this way (including friends, social security warning of a problem with your account, a utility company warning of an imminent shut off, a lottery company promising large payouts- once you pay some fees upfront, or a relative needing bail money or facing another financial emergency, etc.)
This and similar scams are not only carried out via email, but also over the phone. Again, check to make sure the request is real by confirming via a phone call or in person conversation, as well as confirming the sender’s email address is legitimate.

What Do I Do if I Have Responded to Scam/Phishing Emails or Clicked a Scam Link?
If you believe a scammer has gotten any of your personal information, including social security number, credit card, or bank account information, visit to report your information as stolen. You can also report the phishing or scam attempt at the following link: 

To mitigate the effects of phishing and scam emails, be sure to change your passwords frequently and update your computer’s security software regularly. 

If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to email or call the Church Office M-TH from 9-3 at (714) 776-5710.