Con artist poses as priest, asks for money for cancer patient

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MALVERNE -

A con artist is apparently posing as a Malverne priest and asking for money to help a cancer patient.

The Rev. Michael Duffy, of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, says someone pretended to be him in a text message sent to parishioners and church employees. Once the person replied, they got another text asking for a $500 Google Play gift card for a friend in the hospital with cancer.

The message says Duffy was busy and couldn't get the gift card, but that the person who received the message can get the card from any store and would be paid back.

"It's such an odd way to text," Duffy says. "There was a mistake in the grammar and they used my full, formal name, Rev. Michael F. Duffy, who texts like that?"

Duffy also says he would never send a text message asking someone for a gift card.

News 12 spoke with people in Malverne who say it's not the first time they've heard of people in their community being scammed.

And Duffy says this isn't the first time people in his church have been targeted. Last Christmas, he says an email was sent asking for $500, and someone fell for it. He hopes that by spreading the word about the fake text message, no one falls victim to it.

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