At least one member of the St.Joseph's Catholic Church community in Stratford, Ont. has lost hundreds after a fraudulent email.

Stratford police say a church member received an email believed to be from its pastor, Reverend Richard Bester, requesting donations of iTunes gift cards for hospital patients.

She purchased the gift cards and sent the information as per the email's instructions, but reportedly realized she'd been scammed when she got another request for more gift cards.

Police say the complainant, who reported the situation on Tuesday, lost several hundred dollars in the scam.

After both the church and police were notified of the situation, it emerged that similar emails have reportedly been received by other church members.

Police say there was a similar incident in January, in which officials believe email information from the church was hacked.

Community members are being encouraged to use caution when receiving and responding to emails with requests for money or gift cards.

Anyone who has been victim of a fraud is asked to contact police at 519-271-4141 and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.