Pastor poser uses empathy to steal from Fort Myers church congregation

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia
Published: Updated:
Covenant Presbyterian Church. (Credit: WINK News)
Covenant Presbyterian Church. (Credit: WINK News)

A pastor poser is using your empathy to break a basic commandment by asking someone at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers for money to help a friend with cancer.

Covenant Presbyterian Church’s mission is to help others. But this week, Rev. Jeffrey Deyoe said someone took advantage of their giving nature. “It’s disheartening,” he said. “It’s disappointing. But I’m not surprised that’s just life on the internet these days.”

A scammer sent a text message to parishioners posing as the reverend, asking for $500 in a Google Play gift cards saying it is for a friend going through cancer. The reverend said someone hacked his personal email in October and that is how the scammer was able to gain access to the contact information.

Deacon Rosemary Wallace believes this is a sign of the times. “It’s devastating and it’s really sad that that’s what this world has come to,” she said.

The church forgives whoever is behind the crime but wants to warn others about the scam. Similar scams have been happening across the country. The pastor has already informed his congregation. “Unfortunately,” Deyoe said, “doing this to a church is not a good thing and I’ll let God worry about that in terms of how to judge this person.”

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