Hackers Loot $800,000 From US County Office In A Sophisticated Phishing Scam



Cybercriminals are heartless and would take advantage of any situation including that of a relief programme. This time they have taken advantage of the devastation caused by hurricane Harvey to scam Harris County of $800,000.

Last year September, about 30% of Harris County, Texas was submerged as a result of Hurricane Harvey. After the devastation, contractors were hired to fix the damage caused by the Hurricane -- and then used this avenue to strike.

According to Houston Chronicles, the auditor's office of the county received an email from a woman named Fiona Chambers who posed as an accountant for D&W Contractors, Inc.

D&W Contractors, Inc. is a legit company that was hired to by the county to fix the damages caused by the hurricane, and coincidently, the company was working on that same day. In the email sent to the countys office, the woman who claimed to be an accountant for D&W asked the countys office to transfer the sum of $800,000 to the contractors as part of its contract.... but to a new bank account.

The county in return transaferred the said $800,000 to the bank account without verifying if the account was owned by the contractors.

The next day, the countys office released that D&W contractors didn't have an employee who goes by the name of Fiona Chambers nor did the bank account provided belonged to the company. At this point, it dawned on the countys office that they had fallen victim to a phishing scam.

"We live in a rapidly changing world of technology that you can't just sit pat and expect that the bad guys aren't going to come after you. I think we need to look at all of our systems to be sure that somebody can't get in and steal taxpayer money," Harris County's Judge Ed Emmett said.

The County's offcie were able to recoup the money. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched an investigation into the incident.

Hackers explore several ways t0 swindling unsuspecting users. We should always ensure to verify any document(s) or file(s) sources before respoinding or even downloading it. Never hand over personal or sensitive information to any source that you dont trust.

Always ensure to use a VPN while browsing the web and make sure to keep your apps and Anti-virus programmes up to date!

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