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By Rev. Marty Levesque

Recently someone seeking to use the goodwill of the people of the Diocese of Huron cloned what appeared to be Archbishop Colin Johnson’s email and sent an email out the emails listed on the diocesan website. The person was seeking Google Play or iTunes cards. This is just one of many scams that are used to prey upon people.

There are a variety of ways to protect yourself from falling victim to such scams. Here are a few tips to help protect yourself.

  1. Never send money to someone you have never met face-to-face. And don’t do it if it someone you know asking you to use a wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card like iTunes or Google Play (those cannot be traced and are as good as cash).
  2. Don’t click on links or open attachments in an unsolicited email. Links can download malware onto your computer and/or steal your identity.
  3. Scammers are great at mimicking official websites, fonts, and other details. Just because a website or email looks official does not mean that it is. Even Caller ID can be faked. Always contact the company by opening a new browser window or by calling and speaking to someone at the organization.
  4. Never share personal information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door.
  5. Always check the email address or URL to see it is legitimate. Case in point, the recent email sent to the diocese was not from a address but was from “Most Reverend Colin R. Johnson <”

The World Wide Web, much like the world itself is a wonderful place full of interesting information and great people. But much like a market in a tourist centre, where the best deal is available only to you and pickpockets lurk around the corner, we need to take a few steps to protect ourselves.

Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo.