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Auditor Faber Warns Government Employees of Uptick in Spear Phishing, Payment Re-Direct Scams
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – Auditor of State Keith Faber urged state and local government employees to be extra diligent in reviewing requests to redirect payments from public accounts, following a recent increase in cyberscams targeting public offices.
Auditor Faber also issued an advisory Thursday warning of the spear phishing attacks and provided information to help protect taxpayer resources.
“These cybercrooks will stop at nothing to get their hands into the public coffers,” Auditor Faber said. “We need to do everything possible to ensure those resources are available for roads and schools, police and firefighters, and other services the public relies on, not padding criminals’ pocketbooks.”
The re-direct schemes, or “business email compromises,” often involve seemingly innocent messages to government offices from individuals impersonating vendors or other employees and seeking to have payments sent to different bank accounts.
Unsuspecting Ohio government offices, thinking they are dealing with a known vendor or employee, process the requests and change banking information without independently verifying the legitimacy of the request or the identity of the requester.
Once the funds are transferred, they’re often difficult to recoup.
Thursday’s advisory, (ohioauditor.gov/publications/docs/Cybersecurity_Advisory.pdf) includes tips for identifying the schemes and preventing the transfer of public funds to cybercrooks. The Auditor of State’s Office has assembled information (ohioauditor.gov/fraud/cybersecurity.html) on free training and other resources to assist government offices in avoiding the phishing scams.
“We’re working hard every day to crack down on those who lie, cheat, and steal public resources,” Auditor Faber said. “If you see something or suspect wrongdoing, call our fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).”
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.
Contact: Marc Kovac