Scammers Steal $185K from City of Ellensburg
City of Ellensburg officials are now working with law enforcement officials and their insurance company to see if any of the money can be recovered.
Officials now say a fraudster was able to steal just over $185,000 from the city by way of an electronic transfer.
Last week, the city received a call from a person who said they were representing a vendor who does regular business with the city. This person had more than enough information to lead officials to believe them (which in of itself is scary!). The person requested the latest city payment be made electronically to their bank account, instead of sending a registered mail check as was done in the past.
After examining the information, city officials said all the routing information and other data appeared to be safe and accurate. But instead of the money going to the vendor's account, it turns out it ended up in the account of the scammers.
The fraudulent accountant told city officials the original transfer was rejected by their bank, and they send new account information--which was the 'fake' account.
Ellensburg officials have issued statements to other city officials in the region to be especially careful of such spoofing efforts. No word if the city will be able to recover any of the money.