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People impersonating pastors solicit gifts cards for false charitable cause, officials say

Attorney General Ken Paxton issues consumer alert about scam

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AUSTIN, Texas – A consumer alert was issued Friday by Attorney General Ken Paxton about people alleging to be priests or pastors who are texting members of the church and asking them to buy gift cards for a false charitable cause.

In a release, the Office of the Texas Attorney General said Texans have received deceptive texts from people pretending to be pastors who request they purchase a gift card and send them the information to access that card.

The scammers claim the gift cards are needed for a charitable reason, but insist they cannot pick up a gift card themselves and the purchaser will be reimbursed, according to the release.

"All Texans should be aware of unsolicited calls and texts from scammers impersonating leaders in their Church. This is a dirty trick criminals are using to make a quick buck at the expense of people of faith," Paxton said. "My office stands ready to assist all hard-working Texans who are harmed by these schemes. The consumer protection section of our website contains several resources on how to recognize, prevent and report scams like this. Being informed and remaining vigilant is the best way to prevent fraud and loss."

The Office of the Texas Attorney General believes the scammers are using information found on churches' website or in churches' online bulletins to trick members of the church into sending them gift cards. Churches throughout Texas have seen reports of this scam, according to the release.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the attorney general's consumer protection division by calling 800-621-0508 or filing an online complaint here.


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