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Photo: TAYLOR CARPENTER / TAYLOR.CARPENTER@AJC.COM
Photo: TAYLOR CARPENTER / TAYLOR.CARPENTER@AJC.COM

Atlanta Archdiocese warns of phishing scam

The Archdiocese of Atlanta is warning parishioners about a phishing scam that seeks payments of $220 from people on a church newsletter email list.

Hackers breached the archdiocese’s account on Aug. 13 with online marketing company Constant Contact and sent a fraudulent invoice, according to an email from Bishop Joel M. Konzen. 

The phony email went to the entire archdiocesan newsletter email list.

Recipients clicking on the link were directed to an international payment site tied to a bank account in South Africa. The incident has been reported to the FBI.

Screen grab of phising email sent to members of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Photo: Contributed

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Once contacted by the archdiocese, Constant Contact shut down the archdiocesan account and disabled the link in the fraudulent message. The account was briefly opened a short time later to send a legitimate follow-up notice from the archdiocese about the scam and asking people to disregard and delete the invoice

“We have no reason to believe that there was any malware or ransomware associated with the fake message,” Konzen said in the email. “Nevertheless, we advise you to run a virus scan and to be alert to any unusual activity associated with the device on which you received the deceptive message. If you did input credit card information, you should contact your credit card company immediately and monitor your credit report.” 

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After a review, officials do not believe parish or archdiocesan databases with personal or financial information were accessed.

The archdiocese has  1.2 million Catholics and covers 69 North Georgia counties, including all of metro Atlanta and Athens

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