St. James parishioners should be aware on two occasions in November and one in December (12/18/19) several members of the church received fraudlent email messages, the first purportedly from our former rector, Joel Hafer, and the second and third purportedly from our interim rector, The Rev. Dr. Carol Jablonski.  These messages convey a friendly greeting and then ask the recipient to respond by return email, saying "I need to ask you a favor" and/or to purchase iTunes cards and to send them to a fake gmail address using their smart phones. All of these "phishing" emails are SCAMS.  None of them originated from Joel or Carol.  Please do not open them or respond to them.  The following guidelines (provided by Amy Williford) will help you identify and deal with email phishing attempts.  Please take a moment to read them carefully.  Thank you.

Please follow the steps below to recognize and report a phishing email.
[1] Always be cautious with emails, even if it is from someone you know.
[2] Trust your gut - if something seems off about the email, it probably is.  Never click on a link or open an attachment if you are not sure the email is legit.
[3] Before you click on anything, hover your mouse over the link and look in the bottom left corner of your browser where you will see a URL.  Does the URL make sense?  If the email is from someone at St. James, but the link URL is a bunch of random characters or pointing to a foreign link, it is a phishing attack.

If you determine the email is a phishing attack, take the steps outlined here:
       If you use gmail, look under "support.google.com"
       If you use Outlook, look under "support.office.com"
If you clicked through the email and/or provided the information requested by the attacker, the best defense is to change your password.

Two additional sources of information to help identify and deal with phishing emails are US-CERT TIPS and KnowBe4.

Please be aware that these phishing attacks are done by cybercriminals.  They cast a net far and wide in hopes to snag as many "clickers" as possible.  Churches will, without a doubt, be a target of these criminals because parishioners are kind, giving and willing to help.