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Scammer targets local bishop, thousands of faithful followers

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Updated: 10/12/2013 4:00 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hackers broke into a local bishop's email address then sent out a fake plea for charity with the goal to dupe thousands of church-goers into donating money to theives.

El Beth-el Divine Holiness Church has long been a target for theives.

Bishop Lorenzo Hall put a brass lock on the front door after repeat break-ins. He also boarded up the back door after someone stole a TV and computers.

"Crime doesn't have a name, it doesn't have a face," said Hall.

The most recent criminal targeted every member of the church located in downtown Jacksonville.

A scammer hacked into Hall's email and accessed his massive distribution list.

"Oh God," said Hall. "At least around 80,000 people."

The scammer sent an urgent message pleading for prayers but seeking profits.

Torris Smalls was one of the thousands who received the bogus message. He knew right away something didn't add.up.

"The fact that is was Ukraine and I said I know he's not in Ukraine," said Smalls. "So that right there was a heads up. I knew this was a hoax."

The email states Hall "was mugged at gun point and all my valuables were stolen" while in Ukraine. It went on to say he was in need of $2,300 to "settle some outstanding hotel bills and also take a cab to the airport."

"And thank God I had my phone on because one person was at the Western Union to wire $2,300 and I told them don't do it," said Hall.
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