FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2019
***BRAZEN SCAM: USING THE BISHOP’S NAME TO LURE
BROOKLYN AND QUEENS FAITHFUL IN GIFT CARD TEXT SCHEME***
Diocese of Brooklyn parishioners and employees have been receiving text messages from a scammer posing as local pastors and even Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
The scammer or scammers have texted asking people to purchase gift cards for a person in the hospital. The person instructs the recipient on how to text back the pin number on the back of the cards and asks them to do it quickly.
Numerous parishes and parishioners have been targeted and thousands of dollars in donations have been sent by those who have fallen victim. Some of the parishes targeted include:
St. Rose of Lima – Rockaway Beach
St. Helen – Howard Beach
Incarnation – Queens Village
Our Lady of Perpetual Help – South Ozone Park
St. Clare – Rosedale
St. Fortunata – East New York
On May 7 an official diocesan email was sent to church pastors and administrators making them aware of the scam. The New York City Police Department has also been notified and police reports have been filed.
Screenshots of some texts are attached as well as a clip from the story that ran May 8 on Currents News, our diocesan nightly newscast on NET-TV. Any video used must carry the following on camera courtesy: NET-TV/Currents News.
Chyrons for news clip:
:00 Rockaway Beach / May 8
:22 Annette Clark / Targeted by scammer
:37 Fr. James Kuroly / Pastor, St. Rose of Lima Church