Attorney General warns of ‘Pay for Prayer’ scam

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The Attorney General’s Office is warning the public about scammers who are requesting money and telling the victims that, in return, they would receive prayer from a hospital official.

According to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the calls claim to be from the “St. Mary’s Prayer Center Ministry” — a department that does not exist. The callers request victims to place their personal information into a database through the phone in order for the hospital to “pray for you.”

“Consumers must exercise caution with any unsolicited call,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “No matter the service or product, consumers should never provide payment or personal information to a stranger without verifying the legitimacy of the represented entity.”

The calls use “location spoofing” which is a new trend that gives false locations to victims. It will show a phone number from a nearby town in the caller ID in order for the victims to feel obligated to answer the phone. Some victims even report voicemail messages being left asking for financial information.

The Federal Communications Commission says the average phone user will receive more calls from robots than actual humans by the end of 2018. They say you should never give any financial information over the phone and you should verify any requests with the exact source.

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