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Scammers masquerade as Coal Valley church to steal money

Scammers masquerade as Coal Valley church to steal money

The culprits behind an attempted scam tried to victimize people in Coal Valley through their willingness to help others, according to police.

The scheme involved masquerading as the First Presbyterian Church’s pastor, Tim Snart, Coal Valley Police Department Chief Jack Chick said Monday. The goal was to get people to buy iTunes gift cards then send photographs of the cards’ information via email. That information then could be used to get the money from the cards.

The scam used a false email address to contact people and to receive the pictures, Chick said.

The police department warned people about the scam via its Facebook page last week. The post included text from the email. In it, the recipient was asked to buy the cards for women who were hospitalized while being treated for cancer.

Only one person is known to have followed the instructions, but the authorities, with the help of iTunes, were able to void the purchased cards, Chick said. The victim’s credit card company is expected to refund the money after conducting its own investigation.

The culprits are suspected of building the scam using information about the church available online, Chick said.

The chief said the threat of the scam is thought to be over because the requests apparently have stopped circulating.

A message was left for Snart Monday afternoon asking him to comment, but he had not yet responded as of 1:40 p.m.


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