Warning issued over scam artists posing as ministers

Warning issued over scam artists pretending to be clergy.
Warning issued over scam artists pretending to be clergy.

Posing as ministers and using real church addresses, scam artists have targeted Pennsylvania consumers with travel scams, prompting state Attorney General Tom Corbett to warn businesses, churches and other groups to be on the lookout for the fake deals.

"Modern computer technology makes it quick and easy for thieves to generate Internet ads of e-mail messages seeking assistance in purchasing airline tickets and making other travel arrangements," Corbett said in a statement. "Individuals who respond to the bogus ads will typically be asked to wire-transfer money, or businesses may be sent counterfeit checks or fraudulent credit card information to complete the transactions."

Corbett said the thieves claim to be church officials or missionaries as a way of establishing trust and luring more to respond. Scam e-mails also often include tales of travel problems, other unexpected difficulties and urgent deadlines -- all to get victims to respond without verifying if the message is legitimate.