Scammers Pretend to Be Bishop, Take Advantage of Churchgoers - NBC New York

Scammers Pretend to Be Bishop, Take Advantage of Churchgoers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Scammers Targeting Generous NYC Churchgoers

    Some clever criminals are taking advantage of church members with a gift card scam. Erica Byfield reports.

    (Published Friday, May 24, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Scammers have been taking advantage of church goers and reaching out to their victims via text message

    • One of the scammers has been posing as bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

    • Church leaders have removed all volunteer phone numbers from church bulletins

    Scammers have been taking advantage of churchgoers by reaching out to the victims pretending to be their bishop, police say. 

    According to church leaders, parishioners from several churches in Brooklyn and Queens have collectively given $3,000 to the mystery scammer.

    John Quaglione, employee of the Diocese of Brooklyn, said he received a text from someone who identified themselves as bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. “It was like why would he be texting me to help? He needs my help? It seemed fishy,” Quaglione said.

    A request for a text back from the supposed bishop was a red flag. After responding hesitantly with “how can I help you,” Quaglione received a string of messages asking for hundreds of dollars of gift cards for someone battling cancer, adding “don’t forget to send some prayers.”

    Catholic leaders think that the scammer may be searching for names and numbers of church volunteers in the church bulletin. Since these instances have started, church leaders have updated their bulletins and removed all volunteer phone numbers.

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