FORT WORTH Pastor Bruce Engleman is putting out an urgent plea to low income and elderly parishioners at his church. As a matter of fact, other folks ought to listen up, too.

The Baptist Temple pastor says people need to be wary of a scam that already hit some of his church members.

"It makes me very angry," he said.

Specifically, someone calls from a New York area-code demanding cash. Usually, Engleman says it is a "Peter Morris" or "Jack Smith" on the line demanding payment for a payday loan or legal services.

"With our older members, they get so many calls from actual bill collectors, hospital or medical, sometimes they lose track of which is real," he said.

Norma Elliot almost fell victim to the scam earlier this week.

Her call came in Tuesday. She says the man was verbally abusive and actually listed a payday loan company she had used in the past, which gave the call some legitimacy. But luckily she consulted with Engleman before handing over any cash.

"I was very upset," she said.

There are countless complaints listed with the 347-377-7756 number online, most from the Northeast where the scam has been circulating for some time.

A man identifying himself as "Jack Smith" didn't have much to say when News 8 called on Thursday, hanging up after just a couple of questions.

The New York Attorney General's office has been investigating.

The church said it will file complaints with the Texas Attorney General and also contact the FBI.


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