Asian partner falls prey to e-mail scam

By on December 1, 2006

Churches and their partners around the world are being warned not to fall prey to e-mails seeking cash and/or credit card information in exchange for a sizeable donation or in order to claim a prize or an award.

The warning comes after a church leader in Southeast Asia – a partner with the Anglican Church of Canada’s Partners in Mission (PIM) program – was found to have contracted loans and made irregular transactions from program funds coming from various sources worldwide amounting to more than $200,000 US in response to an Internet scam that promised a “humanitarian cash award” of $500,000 US.

(The Anglican Journal agreed not to identify the partner organization out of concern for its safety.)

The irregularities, which occurred over the course of a year, were discovered in September 2005; the church leader who misused the funds has resigned and is attempting to make restitution, said Andrea Mann, regional mission co-ordinator for Asia, Pacific and the Middle East for the partnerships department of General Synod. Part of the funds ($3,000 Cdn) that were misused came from an annual PIM grant. Upon learning about the incident, PIM withheld its 2006 grant pending the outcome of an ongoing review commissioned by the funding partners and changes to that church’s fiscal management practices.

Ms. Mann underscored the important ministry that the Southeast Asian church is doing; the money being contributed by PIM provides scholarships to theological students.

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