4 Investigates: Impostor priest targeting the faithful | KOB 4
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4 Investigates: Impostor priest targeting the faithful

Colton Shone
August 16, 2019 07:01 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- An impostor priest is trying to scam Catholics into giving away their hard-earned money.

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“We have seen this around the nation and it's finally hit New Mexico,” said Matthew Mora, a representative with the New Mexico Better Business Bureau. “With our large Catholic population, this person knows where to go and who to hit for money.”

Mora said the scammer sends emails or text messages, asking people to donate gift cards for cancer patients.

The scam is upsetting to a New Mexico priest. Father Andy Pavlak of San Felipe de Neri in Old Town believes the scammers target the faithful because they think they can get away with it.

“It’ just sad, unfortunately, and these things happen far too often and with the rise of social media and the rise of deceptions that go on out there, it's really kind of a shame," he said.

Father Pavlak said his name has been used to scam people.

“Actually, a message went out that I was trapped in Scotland and you need to send money to get me back,” he said. “My second grade teacher, who is a religious sister, sent money and I was like, ‘Lydia what are you doing?’ So yeah, unfortunately it happens too often.”

Father Pavlak said the church will ask for donations, but they will never ask for a gift card.

“Be aware,” he said. “Don't do things that you normally wouldn't do. Check with sources before you actually do something like this."

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Colton Shone

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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