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Scammers target church members during COVID-19 pandemic

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) — Pastors in Des Moines, Iowa, say that scammers are targeting congregation members amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rev. David Sickelka, of Urbandale United Church of Christ, said that someone recently created a fake email account in his name and started sending messages to his parishioners.

“It makes me very angry when people try to exploit a situation like this,” Sickelka said.

Church members noticed that the email didn’t use the church’s domain and didn’t sound like the pastor they are familiar with.

Sickelka reported the scam to police and said scammers are trying to take advantage of churches in a time when people are already on edge.

Another pastor in Des Moines, Mike Housholder, posted a warning on social media, saying someone was sending fake emails and texts and asking church members to buy gift cards.

“Iowans must be on alert, because scammers are preying upon fear and confusion over the pandemic and Iowans’ charitable natures,” the Iowa Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

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