Priest impersonator tries scamming people out of money in Monroe

Monroe Police said someone who is pretending to be a priest is no person of faith. Instead, they said he's part of a much larger problem.

The Federal Trade Commission reports it received more than 2.1 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020, with imposter scams remaining the most common type of fraud reported to the agency.

In Monroe, that's happening where someone is pretending to be a priest, according to police Captain John Wall.

"These are cases that the Monroe police department takes very seriously because it can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families," he said.

Wall said his department got a call that parishioners were getting text messages from someone posing as Father Kishore at St. Michael Church.

He said there was at least one potential victim who called the church and realized it was possibly a scam. Luckily, nobody took the bait but Wall says the scams are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent.

"Even on a low level, someone with basic computer skills can develop things that look legitimate," Wall said.

The Monroe police department gave us examples of some of the scams they’re seeing:

  • COVID-19 scams and price gouging
  • Telephone scams
  • Government grant scams
  • Lottery and sweepstakes scams
  • Banking scams
  • Census related scams 
  • Charity scams

There's almost always an ask for money so Wall said it's imperative to hold those responsible accountable.

"The best thing we can do is educate our public because once this happens and you become a victim, it’s so hard to hold some accountable and ever get your funds back," he said.

According to the FTC Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019.