The Florida Baptist Convention (FBC) announced yesterday that it has fallen victim to a significant financial cyber crime, causing an unknown loss of resources.
The fraudulent incident involves a payment intended for one of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entities. FBC Executive Director-Treasurer Tommy Green stated in the initial announcement that the crime was committed “with a general knowledge of the communications and practice between the SBC entity and the convention.”
This revelation has raised concerns about how the cybercriminals were able to acquire such specific internal knowledge, according to the statement.
In response to the attack, the FBC has reported the crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement, their insurance carrier, their bank, and their auditing firm. They have also initiated a forensic audit and legal investigation to unravel how the cybercrime took place.
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“The matter was related to our Send Network Florida account in partnership with the North American Mission Board. We are currently working with forensic auditors and legal authorities to determine how this crime occurred,” stated Green in an update released today.
While the investigation is ongoing, the FBC maintains its confidence in its SBC entities, their financial and structural integrity, and their missional financial partnerships. They have also set up a sub-committee under the State Board of Missions Administrative and Finance committees to oversee the audit investigation and suggest next steps based on the audit’s findings.
Despite the setback, the FBC reassured its members that all commitments to support churches and cooperating ministries in Florida will be honored, thanks to the reserves already in place. “It is our desire in all that we do to bring glory to our Lord and Savior, and to continue earning the trust of the churches we serve when we distribute the sacrificial resources given through tithes and offerings,” Green said.
This incident underscores the increasing threat of cyber attacks on organizations of all sizes and scopes. The FBC has emphasized the importance of diligent security of IT and financial systems, and critical scrutiny of any requests that deviate from historical payment practices.
The leadership of the FBC has asked for the support and prayers of the Baptist community as they work to prevent similar financial losses in the future, assuring that they continue to stand “right beside” their churches, confident that God is working mightily among the Florida Baptist churches.