Earlier today, it came to our attention in the Synod Office that an email purporting to be from known individuals within our Synod was being received by a number of people. While this email did not actually come from any legitimate individual within the Synod, it claimed to be, and it asked the recipient to purchase gift cards equivalent to varying amounts of currency and to provide the codes from those gift cards in order to redeem them. This is a scam.
While at this time we do not know how many people have been targeted by this scam, we are taking this opportunity to inform everyone to beware of it. We have conducted security screenings on our own systems, and at this time there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that there has been a breach in the security of our systems. We have nevertheless taken additional measures, including but not limited to changing passwords, and will continue to investigate this matter. This is being done out of an abundance of caution. We also recommend that if you received such an email, that you change your passwords too, out of an abundance of caution.
Receiving such a request from anybody, no matter how well you think you know them, asking for you to provide them with personal information or money should always be suspect when it’s a request received by email that explicitly asks you not to contact them by any other means. Never under any circumstances should you follow those instructions blindly. Always double check that a strange sounding email from a person you know is indeed coming from that person’s known email address.
As we continue to investigate this matter, we will update you immediately should we learn anything that impacts your privacy or compromises your information in any way. As of now we do not believe that this email scam is a result of any kind of security breach of Synod servers or systems. Should you have any questions or concerns, you are invited to email me directly by replying to this email or emailing the synod office.
In this pandemic world to which we’ve been forced to become accustomed, we’ve had to increasingly rely on email and our electronic devices for more and more of our everyday lives. However, we must remember to remain vigilant and beware of these very real threats that we face every single day we use the internet.