City of Swanville falls victim to email scam; may lose $68,000
City Clerk Julie Hollermann told the Swanville City Council, Wednesday, that the city was defrauded in an online scam and may have lost $68,000 because of it.
When Hollermann returned to work after vacation, Monday, she noticed she had received an email that appeared to have been sent June 27 by Mayor Sandy Lange. The email instructed Hollermann to complete a wire transfer for the city to pay for street repair.
“The only thing is that I never sent her an email,” Lange said.
Hollermann replied to the email for further instructions, believing that she was communicating with Lange. The original email and the responses she received were worded similar to the way Lange communicates so Hollermann never suspected anything, even though wire transfers are not common for the city.
“I was gone on vacation and when I saw the email, I just thought that maybe someone had just come in and did some roadwork that needed to be done and now we needed to pay for it,” Hollermann said.
Following the instructions, Hollermann wired $68,300 to Alobwede Charles Mesonge LLC in Decatur, Ga. who had an account with Bank of America. The email asked Hollermann to reply after the transaction was done with the payment receipt.