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Teton School District 401 of Driggs city recovers $484,000 of funding lost in a phishing scheme


The investigation led by FBI has helped the Teton School District 401 of Driggs city, Idaho, recovers $484,000 out of $784,000 in funding, which it sent to the online thieves who poses as the contractor hired by them for building two new elementary schools.


The fraud, recognized as "phishing" scheme, has been discovered in December 2018. The unidentified suspects sent Teton School District an email that claims to be from the Headwaters Construction, and provide instructions for submitting next payment for the work that has already been completed.


Few days after payment has been rendered as instructed in the email, the actual officials with the Headwaters Construction assured the Teton School District that the email was not sent by them and they had not initiated any payment request, said Monte Woolstenhulme, the Superintendent.


Woolstenhulme also said that the district has contacted the Sheriff's Office of Teton County regarding the theft; and then the FBI along with the Bank of Commerce, district's financial institution, were brought in for assisting.


However, Woolstenhulme did not provide any details by which the Bank of Commerce as well as the investigators managed to recover a portion of that lost funds. He has also not provided any update on the efforts to recover $300,000 which is still missing. "It's an ongoing investigation," Woolstenhulme said.


Woolstenhulme said the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, the insurance provider of the district, is reviewing that whether the funds which is still missing have to be covered or not. The amount that is yet to be found falls below the coverage cap of ICRIMP, Woolstenhulme added.


Carl Church, business manager of the district, has been suspended after this recent phishing scheme. In late December 2018, Church has submitted his resignation. The district officials said that Church was never been focus of the fraud investigation.


Woolstenhulme said that the district has already implemented safeguards on the construction payments in order to avoid getting victimized in future. For instance, payments from now onwards will be made to only authorize officials of the Headwaters. He further added that the district is providing training of cybersecurity to certain personnel. "We're much more cautious and safeguarded now than we've ever been," he said.


» SPAMfighter News - 2/7/2019

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