Cheshire Police are warning people to be wary of unusual emails after two churches in east Cheshire had their emails hacked by scammers.
St Theresa′s in Wilmslow and St Mary′s in Middlewich were targeted by the scam aimed at getting unsuspecting recipients to part with their money in the belief that the person who sent the email has come to harm in a foreign country.
Inspector Mark Gammage said: "In both cases reported to us today (20 July 2012) everyone on the contact list of the churches email account had been sent an email saying their parish priest had come to some harm and they were stranded in Spanish city.
"Any email requesting money should be regarded with caution. Often the spelling and grammar is a give away as the email tends to be riddled with mistakes. Delete the email and definitely do not give your bank details or send any money.
"My concern is that the more vulnerable or elderly residents may fall prey to a scam such as this. I would urge anyone who has had communications of this type to disregard the content and report it to police. Any advice regarding matters of this nature can be sought from your local police, Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Bureau."
What to do if you have already given money:
• End all further contact with the fraudsters.
• Do not send them any more money.
• If you have given the fraudsters your bank account details, contact your bank immediately. If you have not already done so, do not give the fraudsters your account details.
• If the fraudsters threaten you once you stop co-operating with them, tell the police immediately.
• Be aware that you will probably be targeted for other frauds. Fraudsters frequently pass on the details of people they have successfully targeted to other fraudsters.