In September, city staff advised the RCMP that two payments to a contractor totalling over $700,000 had been fraudulently redirected and were never received. Investigators were able to work with financial institutions to recoup most of one payment, however approximately $375,000 remains outstanding.
Officers are following multiple leads and working with international partners to identify the person or persons responsible for this sophisticated computer based fraud.
“Our first concern was to determine the extent of the fraud and who was affected,” said Cpl. Craig Douglass, spokesperson for the Prince George RCMP. “
There are no indications that the City of Prince George was hacked or that personal information was compromised.”
The Prince George RCMP is aware of recent, similar frauds being committed in our community and elsewhere in Canada. Investigators want to remind other governments, businesses & individuals to be mindful of computer based frauds, and would like to offer the following tips:
- Be on the lookout for invoices that use the name of legitimate companies. Scammers will use real company names to make the invoices seem authentic. Make sure you inspect invoices thoroughly before you make a payment;
- Be extra cautious of vendors that suddenly change the method that they accept payments;
- Compile a list of companies your business uses to help employees know which contacts are real and which are not;
- Always verify that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action;
- Carefully verify email addresses and web domain names for any online payments.
For more information or to report a fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.