Recently, some of our missionaries received an email purportedly from Pastor Wilkerson. The email, which was a hoax, asked the recipient to purchase a gift card. Many missionaries wisely ignored the email or contacted us to ask about it. Unsolicited emails from unknown sources are not always so direct, but they are often both deceptive and dangerous. For this reason, email safety is a key concern to all internet users, including missionaries.

Another recent email to one of our missionaries is copied below. Notice especially the knowledgeable, purposeful use of church and ministry language. Here is the first email:

From: CBC Secretary <>
Sent: Thursday, July 2, 2020 11:14:54 AM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Quick Favor.


So sorry for disturbing you with this mail, i really need your favor.

Thank you and God bless,

Nancy Jaco Church Secretary

The missionary responded:

From: XXX XXXXX <>
Sent: Friday, July 3, 2020 12:13 PM
To: CBC Secretary <>
Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] Quick Favor.

How can I help?

The third email got specific:

From: CBC Secretary <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 3:26:24 PM
Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] Quick Favor.

Glad you replied. I need to get an iTunes gift card for my Niece, Its her birthday but i can't do this now because I'm currently traveling. I tried purchasing online with my credit cards but unfortunately no luck with that. Can you get it from any store around you? I'll pay back as soon as i am back, Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

Await your soonest response.

Thank you and God bless,

Nancy Jaco Church Secretary

Based on these and other emails, here are a few things that may help you with email safety:

  1. Watch out for emails from unknown domain names. In the first email above, the email comes from an atypical address ( If in doubt, make sure to look carefully at the entire email address. While the name may be familiar, the email address may not match.
  2. Watch out for grammatical errors. Many emails that pretend to be from large companies, recognized vendors, and even friends can be exposed by incorrect spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.
  3. Watch out for emails that are labeled as external but claim to be from within. If an email comes from outside FBMI or First Baptist Church of Hammond, it will be labeled as external. If you receive an external email from another FBMI missionary or from someone else within our ministry, you should be extremely cautious. While it is possible that they used a personal email to communicate with you, it is also possible that the email was sent by an imposter.
  4. Watch out for unknown people. Sometimes, you may be contacted by a real person you have not met. If that is the case, do not share information that you are not comfortable with everyone knowing. If you do not know the person, you do not know the person.
  5. Do not click unknown links for any reason.
  6. Do not open unknown attachments for any reason.
  7. Do not share private information through email.
  8. Do not share any financial information through email.
  9. Do not share any information through email that you could share in a more secure manner.
  10. Do not share personal information about other people without their permission.

Thankfully, the examples above ended well. While we acknowledge that there are many people who are trying to deceive (II Timothy 3:13), we also believe that God can give us wisdom and prudence (James 1:5). If you have any questions or would like more help, feel free to contact us!