Wisconsin police warn of ‘pretend priest’ scam targeting parishioners

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(WISN)– Whitefish Bay Police are warning parishioners in Milwaukee County of thieves, targeting church congregations.

According to members of Milwaukee County’s Archdiocese, scammers are trying to swindle people out of money, by appealing to their giving hearts and using the name of well-known priest, Father Timothy Kitzke.

“For someone who is trying to do so much good for the city, who is basically a public servant for the city.” said church member Dan Moore, “It’s really demoralizing to hear people are using his name to try and scam parishioners.”

Kitzke told 12 News that scammers are preying on the generosity of church members with requests that pull on heartstrings.

“Asking for some help for people with cancer, or different needs in their life,” said Kitzke. “To buy Itunes cards and various things like that.”

The requests come in from bogus emails, and ask the sender to text or email back PIN numbers to access the cards.

Kitzke called it a “fishing-scam,” and said some parishioners took the bait.

“When they see my name, they say ‘oh my gosh, we know him, he wouldn’t scam us,'” said Kitzke. “Unfortunately, the scammers are using that. They’re using my own personal reputation as well, to kind of get into people’s hearts and its worked.”

Police are investigating similar reports from multiple Milwaukee county churches including Whitefish Bay.

Father Kitzke is praying for an end, he’s advising church members to contact churches if they receive suspicious requests.

WKOW

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