E-Mail Scam Nearly Costs $200,000 for Toledo, Ohio

An employee within the city of Toledo almost lost nearly $200,000 of taxpayer money by falling prey to a fraudulent email scheme, but officials said the money was recovered before it was too late.

by Sarah Elms, The Blade / November 8, 2019
Shutterstock/deepadesigns

(TNS) — A Toledo, Ohio, city employee almost lost nearly $200,000 of taxpayer money in a fraudulent email scheme, but officials said the money was recovered before it was too late.

An employee in the finance department received an email Oct. 23 from someone she thought was from Mosser Construction charging their account number for a payment, according to a report filed Nov. 5 with the Toledo Police Department.

She sent the payment of $199,450 through an electronic, bank-to-bank transfer to the account number provided on Nov. 1, the report shows. City staff on Tuesday contacted Mosser Construction to confirm the company had received the payment, and that’s when they realized it had been sent to a fraudulent account.

“City staff members immediately coordinated with Toledo police and an expert investigator at the city’s banking partner, Fifth Third Bank, to investigate the matter and retrieve the stolen money,” city spokesman Ignazio Messina said.

The fraudulent account was traced to TCF Bank, which quickly froze the account’s assets and reversed the transfer back to the city on Wednesday, Mr. Messina said.

The city has since suspended its electronic, bank-to-bank transfers.

“This is a teachable moment for everyone to be as wary as possible against fraud and scams,” Mr. Messina said.

©2019 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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