It has come to the attention of your staff that a few South Church members have received emails or text messages from people pretending to be Pastor Dana. The intention of these messages are to scam you into giving them money. As a reminder: Pastors Dana and Alex will never email or text you with urgent requests for money. Be especially careful of any request for money - whether from South Church staff or not - that asks you to transfer money or buy gift cards.
Sadly, we are not the only church, organization, or family to be targeted by this scam. Just as our church has become more technologically sophisticated, so have those who intend to do harm. That is one of the reasons we moved to a church management software company, Realm. Realm is a large company, specializing in housing and securing personal data. When you use the Realm website, your information is protected through advanced digital safeguards. On the user end, access is limited to those with a church-approved username and password. (If you'd like to dig more into the technical side of digital security, Realm has a helpful FAQ: https://legal.acst.com/data-security-measures)
Lastly, you have the ability in Realm to limit what information is available to other people. You can let people see your email but not a cell phone number, for example, or a number of other options and controls.
Undoubtedly, there will still be some skepticism around the digital security of personal information. And some of that in warranted - nothing is perfect. However, there are steps the church can take to better secure our information while also taking advantage of the best the digital age has to offer. We strongly believe Realm is one of those steps. We will continue to seriously examine how we store and share personal information in the coming weeks and months.
If you receive any type of scam email or message, we are truly sorry. Please remind your loved ones to be vigilant against all types of scams, as these attacks are not limited to churches. And, because we are a praying congregation, we invite you to join us in prayer for all those affected by financial scams, and as Jesus urged us, even for those who perpetrate those scams.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to the church office.
-Pastors Dana and Alex