April 13, 2020
Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. From working remote to live streaming Bible studies and services, it’s safe to say most ministries are relying on web-based programs more than ever.
Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.
How to Prevent this?
There are many precautions which can be taken to avoid this type of a loss. For example, if in doubt about the validity of a request, you can pick up the phone and call the person who you think is making the request and ask them to confirm it verbally. To learn more about to how protect your ministry against claims like these, check out Brotherhood Mutual’s new article, “Coronavirus: Beware of Cyber Fraud,” and another one that speaks to the issue of fake emails, “Stop the Thief In Your Inbox.”
A criminal creates an email that appears to be coming from the new executive pastor of the church. The criminal sends the church business manager an email that says the pastor is switching bank accounts and would like his paycheck EFT’d into the new account. While this is generally something that would be discussed in person, this is not possible now due to COVID-19. The business manager reluctantly complies with the request, even though something doesn’t “feel right” about the email. In addition, the business manager doesn’t want to frustrate the new boss. Once the “submit” button is hit, the money is gone.
Is My Ministry Covered?
There are varying degrees of risk tolerance regarding this type of exposure. To many, it can feel like something like this would never happen. However, we have seen increasing instances of this very type of theft, as criminals continue to use more sophisticated ways to victimize organizations. What if you have taken reasonable precautions, but a criminal still finds a way to persuade someone in your ministry to send funds to him? Will your insurance policy cover this type of loss? Under most theft insurance coverage forms, there is a provision which excludes “voluntary parting” with money. The funds were not stolen, they were voluntarily sent to the fraudulent party, albeit under false pretenses. Due to this exclusion, these claims would not normally be covered.
Brotherhood Mutual has created a coverage that directly addresses this exposure. It’s called “Theft by Coercion.” It does not include the “voluntary parting” exclusion, so it is intended to cover losses like the one described above.
Our purpose with this blog post is simply to educate you about what our agency is seeing. We would like to give you an efficient way to check on this coverage and add it to your policy. Please click here to reach out to our service team to add the coverage or inquire further and we would be happy to help you.
With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s wise for ministries to evaluate their fire safety plan. Whether your ministry is hosting a holiday party, prepping treats for charity, or running a community kitchen, make sure you’re well-prepared with these tips.
As school is back in session, it’s important to make sure your school is equipped with the correct safety procedures. Thinking about your school’s physical security as a series of layers can help you find gaps in your plan. Transportation and volunteers are just two important aspects of your school safety plan to think about.
Anyone who turns on the news, flips through a magazine, or browses the web can see that American society and culture are experiencing rapid transitions. Some ministries have valid concerns that issues surrounding societal shifts may expose them to negative publicity, governmental scrutiny, or litigation.
The questions become: when and how can ministries operate within their deeply held religious beliefs when they may conflict with others’ rights?
Cyber security is increasingly crucial in our technologically advanced world. Scammers use many schemes when attempting to steal your data, but you can outsmart them by understanding their methods.
Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.
If your church is anything like mine, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a big deal. Not just because it is central to our ministry’s outreach to young families, but because of the important role that VBS plays in the spiritual formation of children.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.
When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.
Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.
As the Director of Ministry Safety for our agency, I am dedicated to finding ways to help safeguard ministries like yours.
As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.
On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.
If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.
Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.
A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.
Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.
Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.
Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23.