North Carolina church says it lost nearly $800,000 in email scam

ELKIN, North Carolina — Leaders of a northwestern North Carolina church say cybercriminals stole nearly $800,000 that the congregation has spent years raising to build a new sanctuary expected to be completed in months.

It happened in November when the Elkin Valley Baptist Church received an email that mimicked another message from the sanctuary builder with payment instructions, media reported.

The emails arrived one after another on a Friday, according to the church. The following Monday, a church representative responded to what was the cloned email.

“We followed those instructions, unknowingly, and paid the bill,” Johnny Blevins, the church’s senior pastor, told The Elkin Tribune. “It wasn’t until several days later that we were contacted by (the builder) about paying the bill and we said, ‘we’ve paid the bill.'”

The situation was reported to Elkin police, said Blevins, who turned the matter over to the FBI.

The office is “working to try to help recover the funds through (its) asset recovery team,” Charlotte FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Meanwhile, the church is moving forward with the project by taking out a loan, Blevins wrote in an online post soliciting donations for the project.

The church had outgrown its former sanctuary and now meets in its gymnasium, requiring multiple Sunday services to accommodate all of its attendees.

ABC News

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button