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Churches in York targeted in gift card scam

by Tola Mbakwe

Police have warned that churches in the Diocese of York are being targeted by a gift card scam operation.

According to North Yorkshire Police, church volunteers and workers for the Diocese of York have been getting emails from people claiming to be a church wardens, treasurers and even the Archbishop of York. 

The scammer then asks them to purchase high value Amazon gift cards on their behalf as "a thank you gift for a member of the church family".

The initial email follows a standard format and reads:

"Do you have a moment I have a request I need you to handle discreetly. I am currently busy in a prayer session, no calls so just reply my email."

Police said if the recipient then starts conversation, the scammer will ask them to buy the gift cards and assures them that the money will be reimbursed. 

The scammer also asks the recipient to send photos of the gift card or vouchers which allows them to collect the codes needed to make online purchases for themselves. 

Police have urged church volunteers and workers to check the sender of email address appearing to be from a church representative and to not make any purchases based on suspicious emails. 

Anyone receiving these emails should report it to North Yorkshire Police by calling 101.

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