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Scammers posing as priests in New Berlin, asking parishioners to buy gift cards

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NEW BERLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Police in New Berlin are warning the public about a new scam.

They say scammers are impersonating priests and texting members of the congregation asking them to buy gift cards. Authorities say they know of two instances of the scam involving Holy Apostles Church and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

In both cases, the parishioner got a text from someone saying it was their priest and they needed help. Once the person responded, the scammer asked them to go out and buy gift cards and send the gift card code.

Police say it is common for the scammer to tell the victim to do it quickly and not tell anyone about it. 

“You don’t need the actual, physical gift cards to redeem them, just the code numbers on the back," New Berlin Police Capt. Mike Glider said. "So this whole scam could be done via text where there’s no face to face contact, there’s no voice to voice contact, it’s just done via text anonymously."

Glider says they don't know of anyone who has fallen for the scam. He says if you get a text like this, don't respond and call police. 

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