- Associated Press - Friday, March 1, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Investigators say thieves have been using online information about Texas churches to pretend to be preachers and text parishioners appealing for gift cards for good works.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office on Friday announced a consumer warning in a scam in which victims buy gift cards and then provide card numbers to the crooks. The charitable requests are bogus.

Attorney General Ken Paxton says churches throughout Texas have been targeted using information from their websites or online bulletins.

People pretending to be ministers call or text church members requesting gift cards for charity, but insist they can’t pick up the cards and falsely say the buyer will be reimbursed.

Specifics weren’t immediately released about the churches. Congregants suspecting fraud can file a complaint with Paxton’s office.

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