The City of Prince George has become a victim of fraud for $700,000.
The Prince George RCMP, in September received a report from the City of Prince George of a significant fraud in which the city staff told the RCMP that two payments to a contractor totaling over $700,000 had been fraudulently redirected and were never received.
While investigators were able to work to recoup most of one payment through coordination with financial institutions, approximately $375,000 of the second payment still remains outstanding.
According to a press release from the Prince George RCMP, officers are now following multiple leads and working with international partners to identify the person or persons responsible for this sophisticated computer based fraud.
Our first concern was to determine the extent of the fraud and who was affected, said Cpl. Craig Douglass, spokesperson for the Prince George RCMP in the release. There are no indications that the City of Prince George was hacked or that personal information was compromised.
The release also indicated that the Prince George RCMP was aware of recent, similar frauds being committed in the community and elsewhere in Canada. Some of the tips that the RCMP investigators shared to be wary of fraudsters were to be on the lookout for invoices that use the name of legitimate companies as scammers often use real company names to make the invoices seem authentic, to be extra cautious of vendors that suddenly change the method that they accept payments, to compile a list of companies your business uses to help employees know which contacts are real and which are not, to always verify that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action and to carefully verify email addresses and web domain names for any online payments.
Earlier this year, several reports of scammers attempting to fraudulently access money, came out of Burns Lake, Houston and Granisle area. The Houston RCMP detachment had even issued a general warning about the dangers of providing personal information to unknown callers or via the internet that could result in the defrauding of unsuspecting individuals.
For more information or to report a fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.