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Message from the Rabbi on Email Security

February 13, 2020

Dear Aviv Hadash friends and congregants,

In the last few weeks there has been a rash of email phishing scams, specifically targeting clergy and religious congregations. Some of my rabbinic colleagues and their congregations have been affected. In many cases congregants have received an email purporting to come from their rabbi with the heading "Sholom Aleichem" or "Shalom".

These schemes do not just involve "spam", which is unwanted and unnecessary emails. They actually involve misrepresenting clergy for the purpose of a monetary scam (such as requesting that congregants purchase gift cards), or for the purpose of delivering malware (that is files that can do damage to your computer or are intended to steal identities or misrepresent you to others).

Please be aware of the following:

1. I do not send out emails with generic headings like "Sholom Aleichem" or "Shalom".

2. I will never solicit funds via email, or ask you to send funds electronically to a third party.

3. It is very rare for me to send links or attached files together with emails. If you ever receive such a link or an attached file from me (or from anyone else for that matter) think three times before you click to open it. Are you sure the email is coming from me (or the person you think it is coming from)? Does it make sense that the link or attached file is necessary? Does the body of the email sufficiently explain the matter, or is it something generic like "You gotta check this out..."?

Also, take a look at the email address that the message is being sent from. Do you recognize it, or is it something generic and fishy like a gmail address that incorporates the word "rabbi" in the name?

As with any type of potential contagion, please use caution, for your sake and for the sake of all of us.

Best wishes,
Rabbi Aaron Liebman

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