Scammers target Sacred Heart Church in Edinburg— here’s what to look out for

1 year 10 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, May 05 2021 May 5, 2021 May 05, 2021 7:18 PM May 05, 2021 in News - Local

A church in Edinburg became the latest victim of a phone scam.

Officials at Sacred Heart Church said the cell phone of Father Kumar Nayak was hacked and began sending text messages asking parishioners for money.

Nayak spends his days at the church assisting those in the community who attend, but recently he received a phone call from a church member that left him confused.

He says he found out someone was using his name and phone number to get money from those attending the church.

“He uses my full name and [texts] people saying, ‘This is Father Kumar Nayak, I need your help,’” Nayak said.

The scam text message asked the receiver to purchase iTunes gift cards for patients battling cancer in the hospital.

Unfortunately, someone responded, and they lost $500 for doing what they believed to be a good deed.

According to Nayak, other churches have also received similar messages, leading him to believe the scams are targeting the priests.

Hilda Martinez with the Better Business Bureau said it’s crucial to verify anytime someone asks for money, even if it’s someone you think you know.

“Verify who you’re talking to,” Martinez said. “You know they can identify themselves if they’re your friends or your pastor, your neighbor, your best friend. Your best bet would be just [to] verify information.”

Martinez said people should also be cautious about clicking on links, as they may be a way for scammers to access your private information.

Nayak said whoever is responsible for the phony messages knows that churchgoers are giving people. He urges anyone who may get similar texts to call him or the church directly before making any donations.

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