Whitefish Bay Police are issuing a new fraud alert after scammers targeted a Milwaukee priest.
You may have heard of scammers pretending to be someone else like the IRS to get money from others, but the latest scam is targeting parishioners at Three Holy Women Church by using the name of their priest.
"If you get an email or text do not respond," said Father Tim Kitzke during his Sunday morning Homily. "If I want something from you, I will call you directly. My good name is being used.”
Father Tim found someone was using his name as a part of a scam to get money from his parishioners. Scammers were sending texts and emails claiming to be Father Tim Kitzke and asking for money in the form of gift cards like iTunes cards.
“I don’t even know what an iTunes card is," said Father Tim.
Parishioners were concerned as many had already gotten texts from fake numbers requesting money.
One church member fell for the scam, then when the number requested more money, called Father Tim.
“This person all of a sudden realized after having given a rather hefty amount there was something that wasn’t right and called me and I said no I would never do that,” said Father Tim.
That parishioner went to police. Whitefish Bay Police sent out a warning alerting others that the texts and emails were part of a scam, a scam directly taking advantage of good people said Father Tim.
“What hurts me the most is they’re playing on people’s feelings to help others and they’re just using me. People are trusting that it’s me and it’s not," he said.
The fraud has other parishioners concerned for Father Tim.
"For someone who’s trying to do so much good for the city and people trying to use his name in this kind of way it’s just really upsetting and it’s kind of demoralizing because he puts so much effort into making this city a better place,“ said Dan Moore, parishioner of Three Holy Women.
“It makes me sad that it happens in our city and we respect Father Tim, so we feel bad that this is happening to him," said Amanda Berg, another parishioner of Three Holy Women.
Father Tim says not to worry about him, but for the person committing the crime:
“I feel bad for that person if they aren’t judged in this life, they will be judged in the next. It’s theft."
Police say if you get one of these calls, texts or emails don’t respond but let police know, as the scam could also spread to other churches.