If you get an email from Trinity Lutheran Church Pastor Terrie Sternberg claiming she’s stuck in the United Kingdom, rest assured she’s safe at home and does not need monetary assistance.
Sternberg discovered Friday someone had hacked into the church’s email account and sent out scam letters asking people to send her money.
“It just happened today and I can’t get control back” on the email account, she said Friday.
The email, titled “Worst Case Scenario (NEED HELP),” claims Sternberg’s family was mugged while on vacation and their money, credit cards and cell phone were stolen.
“I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, my family and I came down here to (Buckingham-shire) United Kingdom, for a short vacation unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed, all cash, credit cards and cell were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us,” the email states verbatim.
“I have been to the embassy and the police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves pretty soon from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Your contribution will go along way here. Please be so kind to reply back so I can tell you what to do and how to get some cash to us …
“Am freaked out at the moment,” the email concludes.
To make the email appear legitimate, the church’s name, a post office box address and two telephone numbers are listed. The landline “office and fax” telephone number listed is not in service and the cell phone number rings briefly, then stops with no one answering.
The email also includes the following quotation, attributed to Evangelical Lutheran Church of America: “Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world.”
Anyone receiving this email should ignore it. The Better Business Bureau and law enforcement officials advise money and personal information should never be provided to any person or organization before fully investigating to make sure the situation is legitimate.