How to Handle Email Scams

Churches of all denominations are targets for scams, especially the ones that use our trusting and helpful nature against us. We want to remind our Starr King community that nobody from the church, including our minister, will ever ask you for money or gift cards or make vague requests for help that require you to respond to find out more. Here are some tips that can help you navigate these scams. And if you ever have a question about a particular message, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office administrator at

Phishing: What Is It?

Phishing happens when an unknown person sends an email or text pretending to be someone the recipient knows asks the recipient to take a harmful action. Sometimes, they request money. Other times, they invite the recipient to click a link or open an attachment that can trigger malicious code.

When You Receive a Phishing Email

  • Don’t feel rushed – phishing emails create a sense of urgency, but it’s always okay to take your time and figure out what’s happening
  • Do not reply or click on any links if an email or text seems suspicious
  • If you feel any doubt, please send an email to our office administrator at
  • If you reach out to the person who’s sent the email in another channel – call or text them to verify

When Your Email Has Been Used in a Scam

  • Change your email password
  • If you use the same password anywhere else, change those passwords
  • If you used your email to set up and maintain accounts (banks, utility payments, credit cards, etc.), you’ll want to change those passwords too

Tip: To easily change your passwords more frequently and generate strong passwords, you might want to look into using a password manager like 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane, etc.

Advice from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s LeaderLab