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From Fr. Lumpe, Vicar for Priests – Diocese of Columbus:

Please be aware that a growing number of fake e-mails from persons alleging to be priests of the diocese are being sent to parishioners, teachers, and a number of others. These fake requests are asking for iTunes gift cards and like gift cards, usually under the guise of a priest wanting to give these cards to persons in hospitals or prisons. From what I can tell about 12-15 of our priests have been affected by this scam.

Apparently it is easy to create fake G-Mail and other e-mail addresses using the legitimate names of priests. These e-mails make look legit but they are not.

Please do not fall for these fake requests; spread the word about these fake requests.

If you receive a request from a priest, please verify it the old-fashioned way by making a telephone call to the priest at his parish or other place of assignment. Should you receive one of these and want to verify its authenticity but do not know how to reach a priest – especially a retired priest – please call the Chancery and we will help you get in touch with him. Thanks.