It's doing the rounds again: church office holders including churchwardens, treasurers, archdeacons, clergy and diocesan staff, have received fraudulent messages by email or text impersonating colleagues, starting a conversation that ends asking the recipient to spend money typically on vouchers and gift cards.
There have been some close calls with one church office holder actually having spent quite a lot of their own money, but fortunately discovered before it was too late.
The sender has taken some trouble both with identifying their chosen pseudo-sender and the intended victim (we guess someone is trawling church-related websites). In many cases the sender has used an un-traceable gmail address, or texted from an equally un-traceable pay-as-you-go (or 'burner') mobile phone.
It seems this is a national trend at present with similar reports from other Church of England Dioceses; in 2020 we reported one specimen case to North Yorkshire Police who passed it over to Action Fraud, a national police scheme, and have offered the advice below since the discussions with Action Fraud that followed.