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Fraud alert! Scammers targeting church treasurers to get money transferred to outside account

Fraud alert!

Treasurers are being contacted by scammers asking for money to be transferred to an account that is not the congregation's. The scammers are posing as the pastor. Please make sure your congregation has checks and balances in place to ensure that a simple email or call from anyone doesn't allow money to be transferred anywhere. See the ELCA website for steps you can take to ensure your accounting processes are protecting all involved.

A congregation in the ELCA recently was scammed out of over $19,000. If the treasurer had followed the steps below, they would still have that money for ministry.

From the ELCA 'Internal Control Best Practices' document:

Disbursements – All expenditures should be handled as follows:

• All expenditures should be supported by proper documentation (i.e., receipt and notation of business purpose).

• All invoices should be approved by an authorized signer independent of the accounts payable process.

• Any expenditure presented for payment should not be processed unless properly approved and supported.

• The person processing the invoice for payment and cutting the check should be independent of the check signing and bank reconciliation process.

• All check stock should be kept in a secured location when not in use.

• All expenditures should be reviewed by a person independent of the accounts payable process on a quarterly basis to ensure there have been no duplicate payments made during the period.

• All new vendors should be approved by an authorized employee independent of the accounts payable process. 1099 vendors should be flagged in the system in order to ensure that year-end reporting is accurate.

• Before issuance, invoices should be matched to the checks presented for signing, by someone other than the preparer of the checks.

• If the invoice is for the purchase of tangible items (i.e., supplies, computers) rather than services, ensure all receipts are verified by a person independent of the ordering process.

• All service related or individual contractor vendors that are paid more than $600 per year must receive a properly completed 1099 at the end of each year.