FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale’s Mayor Dean Trantalis is talking about the $1.2 million that a scammer swiped from the city’s accounts.
“So what happened to the city is very unfortunate event but we should be able to reclaim all the money that was stolen from us,” said Trantalis.
The mayor says that because of insurance, half of the money has been recovered.
“We have now instituted new protections, new protocols to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” he said.
It appears that scammers searched public records and then pretended to work for the construction company currently building the city’s new police department.
They asked the city for a funds transfer and just like that, the money was gone.
“Apparently there are certain triggering mechanisms that should have materialized in our systems that didn’t and so we now need to be more protective and more responsible going forward,” said Trantalis.
The mayor admits that the system they had in place failed.
The city employee was simply following protocols.
“Unfortunately it happens when there are no controls in place,” says Reginald Andre, a cybersecurity expert.
Andre says this is happening to businesses around the country.
“Hackers — this is their full-time job. Their job is to get their money,” says Andre.
Money is typically transferred overseas.
Once it is abroad, the money is lost, ending up in places like Russia or China.
Andre says there must be systems in place. He says checks and balances are important and that employees need to be trained to know what they should be looking for.
As for the other half of the money, it should be back in city coffers before the end of this year, says the mayor.
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