February 15, 2017
Ministries beware: An email scheme, designed to coincide with tax season, asks payroll and human resource professionals to disclose employees’ personal information. Think you wouldn’t fall for such a scam? You might, if the email looks as if it came from someone in your ministry.
Why you’re likely to fall victim
According to an Internal Revenue Service alert, the phishing emails often contain the actual name of someone in your organization, such as a board member or pastor. This “spoofing” technique makes the request appear legitimate.
Scam emails may look like these examples:
Similar scams involve a request to wire money. The methodology is the same: an email that appears to come from a board member or pastor requests that a wire transfer be made to an unfamiliar account. The email could say that it’s for an overseas charity that the pastor feels needs assistance.
Other scams mimic IRS emails
IRS Criminal Investigation already is reviewing several cases in which organizations unwittingly shared SSNs with cybercriminals. These email schemes are designed to look like official IRS communications, and ask organizations to give out information about refunds, filing status, personal information, or to verify PIN information. Be aware that the IRS generally does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
You can read more about the new consumer alerts issued by the IRS here.
If something looks suspicious, look carefully at the sender’s email address. At first glance, it may appear authentic. You may see firstname.lastname@example.org, when you should see jdoe@<yourministrydomain>.org. When in doubt, don’t click anything—verify that the person claiming to send the email actually sent it by checking in person or with a phone call.
You can also set a policy for financial data requests to be made only in person. To protect sensitive data, avoid emailing employee information unless using a secure transfer method. You can find more information about protecting your ministry’s digital data from Brotherhood Mutual.
This summer is shaping up to be a banner year for churches offering Vacation Bible School (VBS) or summer day camps. After a couple of years of cancellations, mask mandates, and social distancing, that is refreshing and encouraging news.
As we prepare to welcome droves of children into our summer activities, we want to make sure that we do everything we can to make their experience enjoyable, memorable, and safe.
If you are planning your first volunteer or ministry trip abroad, it is important to know a few guidelines for traveling safely. There are some common pitfalls new travelers often struggle with that can be prevented with a little preparation. Here are 5 easy steps you can take to prepare yourself for traveling abroad safely.
As we enter the middle of 2022 amidst uncertainty in many areas, we continue to look at ways our ministries may be exposed. Inflation has reared its ugly head into the economy, and it has a massive effect on the construction industry, trickling into areas that matter to you and your ministry.
Cyber security is increasingly crucial in our technologically advanced world. Scammers use many schemes when attempting to steal your data, but you can outsmart them by understanding their methods.
Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.
If your church is anything like mine, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a big deal. Not just because it is central to our ministry’s outreach to young families, but because of the important role that VBS plays in the spiritual formation of children.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.
When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.
Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.
As the Director of Ministry Safety for our agency, I am dedicated to finding ways to help safeguard ministries like yours.
As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes jumps. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.
On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.
If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.
Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.
A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.
On October 10, 2020, in Denver, Colorado, a 30-year-old private security guard who was hired to protect a Denver news crew while covering protests was involved in a deadly shooting that claimed the life of a 49-year-old man.
Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.
Lessons learned from the front line of a wildland fire.
Four major wildfires are burning across Colorado, fueled by dry vegetation, drought and wind.
Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry. Learn how to keep your ministry safe from scams.