AUSTIN, Texas — Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued a consumer alert regarding persons alleging to be priests or pastors texting members of the church and asking them to buy gift cards for a false charitable cause.
Texans have received deceptive texts from people pretending to be pastors, then requesting that they purchase a gift card and send them the information to access that card. The scammers claim these gift cards are needed for some charitable reason, but insist they cannot pick up a gift card themselves and the purchaser will be reimbursed.
“All Texans should be aware of unsolicited calls and texts from scammers impersonating leaders in their Church," Attorney General Paxton said. "This is a dirty trick criminals are using to make a quick buck at the expense of people of faith. 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.”
Attorney General Paxton's office 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.
Report suspected fraud to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division by calling toll-free 1-800-621-0508 or by filing an online complaint at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/file-consumer-complaint.