Congregants at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven, Mississippi, thought they were sending CashApp gifts to their pastor, Bartholomew Orr, for his birthday. Unfortunately, their gifts were going to someone posing as the pastor, using his picture and an almost identical user handle.
“It’s sad that people not only use me but even just the church to defraud individuals,” Orr told FOX13.
Orr said that he and his church make “a big deal” about birthdays. In fact, he tries to call every member of his sizable congregation on theirs. So when his birthday came in June, some of his congregants sought to honor him with a gift via CashApp.
However, multiple accounts on CashApp bear the pastor’s name and photo. One account is nearly indistinguishable, using a capital “i” in the place of the “l” in “Bartholomew.”
“I discovered that someone had created, what looked like, was the exact same Cash Tag as mine. It just had a little green symbol, making it seem authentic, and they were actually receiving gifts from people,” Orr said.
“I was preaching in a church in Memphis, and someone said, ‘Pastor, I just CashApped you. Did you receive it?’ I’m like, ‘No, I didn’t receive it,’” Orr recounted. “And sure enough, it was the fake account.”
Addressing the scammers directly, Orr said, “Get a job…It’s wrong. You shouldn’t do it. You wouldn’t want anyone to take from you and to steal from your family.”
Hundreds of dollars have gone to the scammers. Orr said that he has contacted CashApp repeatedly by email and phone to report the scammers, but months later, the fake accounts continue to remain active.
According to CashApp, to avoid sending money to a fraudulent account, users should only send payments to people they know and trust, verify and double check with the person that the account is correct, and never send money to anyone promising something in the future.