In the world we live in today, technology is more advanced than ever before. With that being said it is extremely important to be sure you keep your personal information safe and secure. For some, this task is more difficult than for others.
Unfortunately a local place of worship, has had to learn a hard lesson about internet privacy. Reverend Joe Mauriello of the The Church of the Guiding Light located off Morse Rd in north Columbus fell victim to hackers.
Mauriello says his Facebook page was hacked by someone and the thieves have stolen more than $3,000 from the church’s bank account. He says he used his personal Facebook account to manage the church’s Facebook page, as well as the page for the nearby Guiding Light Flea Market and has used the church’s debit card to purchase Facebook advertisements.
The reverend noticed something sketchy was going on when he tried logging into his account. His password had been changed.
“I tried to reset my password — all the things I usually do,” he said. “I couldn’t get anything to happen.”
Soon after this discovery, Mauriello’s church treasurer noticed someone had used the church’s debit card, which was saved on his Facebook account. The treasurer pointed out 17 bogus charges, which totaled $3,129.43 spent.
“We’re a tiny church,” explained Mauriello. “If we get 20 people on a Sunday we’re thrilled, so to lose that kind of money — that’s a huge loss.”
Fortunately, Mauriello and his church leaders were able to dispute the charges with their bank and Monday morning, the funds had been returned.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the church leaders pages had been compromised and later disabled. The company intends to would work with Mauriello to securely restore them.
Columbus police are investigating, but said no suspects have been identified.