Here at Instant Church Directory, we take security seriously. And we mean it. Which is why we felt compelled to write this notice about a common scam that is running through church communities today.
Church members receive what appears to be an email or text message from their pastor asking them to make contributions through gift cards.
Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Church.
Alert your members about the spam ahead of time.
This can be done in your church newsletter, bulletin or during your announcement period at worship services. Notify members that if they receive a message from the pastor asking for a gift card to NOT respond or act. Inform members that your church will never solicit for gift cards via text or email, especially because the IRS would not approve of that.
Never post your pastor’s email or phone on your website.
We know this is hard, because you want members to have a way to connect with your pastor! But when you post this information on your website, it’s easy for scammers to use this information against you.
Post member information behind a SECURE password.
If you have the PDF or your directory or any member information posted to your website, be sure that the information is locked behind a secure password that only members have access to. A secure password consists of a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers or special characters, and should be at least 8 characters long. Never post your password to your website.
Best security practices would require each member to have their own secure password and not share passwords throughout the entire congregation.
Ways We Protect You and Your Church.
Instant Church Directory hosts all data and services between Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, and we employ all the available mechanisms by both companies for intrusion detection and mitigation. Our databases are encrypted and we hash all passwords. We use geo-redundant services (east and west coast, US) and follow or exceed industry best practices for data backup and retention.
We are continually saddened that we must expend so many resources to provide data security when our heart is in helping folks connect and share the Gospel message. But it is a reality and a responsibility we accept with gravity.
We hope this information is helpful to you all.