The Florida city of Fort Lauderdale was conned out of $1.2 million by fraudsters posing as a construction firm, which prompted a police inquiry.
Ali Adamson, Police Department Spokesperson, Fort Lauderdale
|After receiving what was deemed to be a valid invoice from Moss Construction, a company building a new police station for the coastal city north of Miami, the city paid the amount on September 14.
We would like to use this opportunity to urge our community to proceed with caution while completing payment requests and to be on the lookout for scammers.
Adamson, USA TODAY, Fort Lauderdale Police Department
She said she was “working with appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine exactly what occurred,” but she would not say where the money was moved or any other specifics.
Within a day, it was realized that the bill was a hoax.
Dean Trantalis, Mayor, Fort Lauderdale, News Outlets
|The city is attempting to recover the funds.
“The scam wasn’t just an email saying, Hey, this is Moss Construction,” the victim recalls. Send me $1,2,000,000,” There was extensive documentation and paperwork in response.
“It’s $144 million, so they’re in full construction mode, so it would’ve been consistent with the practice that we’ve been following,” Trantalis said to the outlet, alluding to Moss’ substantial construction undertaking.
Scott Wyman, Mayor’s Chief of Staff
|Due to his absence on Monday, Trantalis was unable to comment.|
Although not the first assault on the city, this one was successful.
Greg Chavarria, City Manager, USA TODAY, Fort Lauderdale
|Phishing schemes have previously targeted the city, therefore “proactive measures have been taken to mitigate such risks.”
However, he made no mention of the security procedures that had been previously set up to guard against such scams.
Chavarria refused to make “any specific comment” regarding the incident “for the time being.”
The municipal manager wrote, “This incident is the subject of an active investigation.” The Police Department is collaborating with numerous organizations and resources to find out what happened.
This serves as a crucial reminder that anyone could become a victim of fraud and that we should all take all reasonable precautions to safeguard ourselves.
Moss Construction, USA TODAY
|“Vicious individuals attempted to commit fraud by using our good name and reputation.”
“They used a few bits of information that are typically found in web searches that they uncovered to try to pull off a phishing scam. “Law enforcement authorities are actively looking into this case.”
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following to prevent falling for a phishing scam:
- People use security software on their devices,
- Update their cellphone software as much as possible, and
- Back up data regularly.
If you receive a suspicious-looking email, search for mistakes and make sure the sender is who they say they are. Generic greetings, statements that your account is suspended due to a billing issue, and invitations to click on a link are a few indicators that you should be wary. A second piece of advice from the FTC is to file a report of fraud at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
About The Author
Suraj Koli is a content specialist with expertise in Cybersecurity and B2B Domains. He has provided his skills for News4Hackers Blog and Craw Security. Moreover, he has written content for various sectors Business, Law, Food & Beverage, Entertainment, and many others. Koli established his center of the field in a very amazing scenario. Simply said, he started his career selling products, where he enhanced his skills in understanding the product and the point of view of clients from the customer’s perspective, which simplified his journey in the long run. It makes him an interesting personality among other writers. Currently, he is a regular writer at Craw Security.
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