According to news reports thieves have turned their attention to stealing from the online “poor box” and finding much greater rewards. The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Des Moines was one of the most recent victims.
“”It’s gone,” Bishop Richard Pates tells CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. “You kind of have to take a deep breath and you have to trust in the Lord.”
What was gone – all gone – was the more than $680,000 the diocese had just raised to help the homeless and abused women.
It was swiped in a covert attack by hackers.
“Why would they do it in a particular time, where we had the greatest amount of funds available?” Pates asked.
The Iowa heist is part of latest wave of cyber-crime: account takeover fraud. In it, crime gangs, many located in Eastern Europe, target small towns, community banks and civic organizations which often lack high-tech defenses.”
It’s probably a good reminder to all congregations to double check their financial security protocols. Especially so as congregations begin to support online giving, move their financial data into the cloud and otherwise open themselves up to being exploited. As one who’s spouse works in online giving support, I’ve been told repeatedly that there are very strict protocols about how to handle funds and credit card gifts. And most congregations are still working to implement them.
So be careful out there. Moving online has incredible benefits, but it also opens up a number of risks.