For the second time in as many months, a Florida city was conned out of more than $700,000 by scammers posing as reps from construction companies.
The latest incident originated in September in Ocala and was initially reported by The Ocala Star Banner on Monday.
This spear phishing cyber attack on Ocala revolved around an invoice for construction at the Ocala International Airport terminal in the Central Florida city, according to the Ocala Police Department.
The unidentified scammers posed as reps from Ausley Construction, a firm doing business in Ocala, and managed to convince a city senior accounting specialist employee via email to change bank routing and account number information to the tune of more than $742,000 to a fraudulent bank account, the Banner reported.
Ausley submitted a legit invoice to the city for payment of work on the $6.1 million project at the terminal on Oct. 17. The city paid the invoice a day later, on the 18th. But city officials realized they were had when Ausley told them they had not received payment on Oct. 22.
City officials can’t say how the scammers were able to access the vendor’s information to pull off the scheme, the Associated Press reported.
In August, the Florida city of Naples realized it had been scammed by someone posing as a representative of Wright Construction Group. That person made a “change of bank account” request on June 24, according to Naples’ City Manager Charles Chapman.
The amount in that caper: $700,000.
In June, Key Biscayne, Riviera Beach and Lake City, near Jacksonville, also reported they had been targeted by cyber attackers.