A Lincolnshire church is cautioning its congregants to stay vigilant against social media scams after discovering fake tickets for a craft fair being advertised online.
The tickets were being sold at £30 each for the fair supposedly taking place at Gainsborough Methodist Church, but the place of worship clarified on its Facebook page that no such event existed.
The misleading post promoting the fair was shared on the Gainsborough What's on Guide local Facebook group and had already caught the attention of several people before the church was notified.
The post encouraged individuals to purchase a spot at the 'February 2024 Craft Market' at the church, claiming they needed "food traders" and were open to "anything".
“The more unique, the better,” the post read.
A church member who spotted the scam told the BBC that she believed approximately 30 people had responded to the suspicious post. If all those individuals purchased tickets, it could mean a potential loss of £900.
Joan Smithson, 62, said the post was convincing and even had a sentence warning people of scams.
She told the BBC: “It is a nasty thing for someone to do, scammers are always looking for new ways to get money from people.
"It is so unfair as it puts people off from doing nice things for their community."
In recent months, there has been a surge in frauds and scams targeting churches and dioceses. Last year, criminals impersonated the Archbishop of York, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, defrauding Christians.
Professor Keith Brown, who leads a research team looking into and the impact of financial fraud and scamming on society, has previously told Premier, scamming is “the crime of the 21st century and is not going to go away”.
“We all can get scammed indeed”, he continued. “However it is the lonely usually elderly citizens that criminals target the most. Criminals know they are alone and can be ‘persuaded’ to give up their money more easily as they don’t have somebody close to check if the transaction looks right or feels right.”
According to Professor Brown, only five per cent of fraud crime is ever report.
“The underreporting of this type of crime means that insufficient police and other resources are dedicated to stopping this crime. If we need the real scale of the issue it would be talked about on the radio every day, so please always report a scam to the police or trading standards.”