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Fraudsters may be targeting church parishoners

Thunder bay Police say email scams may be seeking gift cards to help a church member purportedly in trouble.
Church. (via Shutterstock)


The Thunder Bay Police Service is receiving multiple complaints from local church parishioners regarding attempted email scams. 

Reports indicate targets are receiving emails, which appear to be from leadership, management or peers of their church. The email features a story about the church member being in a difficult situation – such as requiring hospitalization. 

In at least one case this story is followed up by requests for gift cards to help assist the church member in their time of need. 

Be on guard as fraudsters will often pose as members for various agencies to lure their targets into a false sense of security. 

Whether you’re receiving unsolicited contact from Netflix, your bank, the Canada Revenue Agency, or even a community agency or institution, your best defence against fraud is to independently contact the source and inquire. Do not use any contact information provided by the suspicious email or caller. Always use verified contact information. 

Scams will often feature different tactics to panic or deceives the target, but the would-be fraudster almost always appears to be after gift cards. The Thunder Bay Police Service wants to remind the public that no reputable institution will ask you for any payment in the form of gift cards. 

The Thunder Bay Police Service is unable to stop these emails from being sent. If you are concerned about potential scams and want to learn more please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre ( 

The Thunder Bay Police Service strongly encourages residents to speak with potentially vulnerable family members and friends about these ongoing scams. 


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