We have received reports of Meeting members receiving targeted spam email messages asking for monetary donations. The messages come from an email address that looks like, but is not, an email address associated with the Meeting. The messages have “Mark Ratliff, Clerk of Newton Monthly meeting” in the closing signature.
Please do not reply to these messages. Either report them as spam to your email provider or simply delete them.
Why is this happening?
Last week we found that the Meeting directory (PDF document) had been posted to a public web site. Presumably some spammers now have all of the email addresses listed in our directory and are making use of them.
We have requested that the document be removed from that public site and are working on password protecting the PDF so that even if it were to be posted in a public place in the future a password would still be needed to open it. I will say more about this in Meeting for Business on Sunday.
What should you do?
If you ever receive an email that appears to come from the Meeting asking for personal information or payment of any sort, regard it with suspicion. Double check that it is legitimate. We do send out appeal letters twice each year asking for donations, but those messages will come from the “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address and request that you submit your donation either to the Meeting’s published P.O. Box or the PYM web site. Those are the only two ways that you can send donations to the Meeting. Any other request or suggestion to submit donations should be regarded with suspicion. You can always contact the Meeting Clerk via the clerk email address email@example.com to ask if the message is legitimate. Or call me via phone. Or just wait until the next Sunday to ask in-person. When in doubt, always speak with a real person to confirm!
Stay cyber-safe this holiday season!
– “The Real” Mark Ratliff