The conference office has been notified of a spoofing email as well as a text making the rounds to various Alabama-West Florida United Methodists appearing as a message from Bishop Graves and other conference staff. This most recent email is from a fake, spoofed email account that has NO ties to Bishop Graves.
Please know that conference leaders or clergy will never ask for a donation, gift cards, or any kind of transfer of money via email. Remember now and in the future that the conference sends emails from official conference email addresses only. (Note conference staff's actual email address ends in "awfumc.org" not "gmail.org.")
We recommend that you don't open attachments or give your personal information to anyone unless you are sure about the email address.
The issue isn't unique to AWF. An article in The Christian Post shared that churches nationwide are the target of these scams. The Federal Trade Commission shares tips on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams.
Anytime you receive what seems to be a suspicious email, check the Alabama-West Florida Conference website for confirmation before clicking links or responding to the email. Don't be rushed, instead, be cautious and confirm the legitimacy of a communication before you respond.