Sophisticated messages can appear to come from a leader in the targeted church.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | For Church Finance Today
Tim Samuel nearly fell for an email scam that has cost victims billions of dollars.
Samuel, chief financial officer for Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, received a message that appeared to come from the church’s information technology director.
“I was blown away because … I almost got tricked here,” Samuel said.
But at closer glance, the CFO noticed problems with the emailed “invoice” for a security training awareness program. For example, while the “sender” gave the familiar name of Bridgeway’s IT person and apparently was aware the church had been installing a new security system, the email address did not match the one in Samuel’s records.
The scheme that targeted Samuel’s church is an example of what the Federal Bureau of Investigation calls a business email compromise scam—dubbed “BEC.” According to an FBI review of domestic and international data, the growing problem resulted in 22,143 reported victims and $3.1 billion in losses from October 2013 through May 2016.
This article appears on the March 2017 cover of Church Finance Today, a publication of Christianity Today.