North Carolina County Loses $1.7M in Email Scam

Cabarrus County of North Carolina Suffers a Massive Financial Loss

The North Carolina county of Cabarrus, confirmed they were fooled by scammers in December 2018, sending them $2.5 million dollars. The crooks were very targeted and thorough with their attack, using social engineering to pose as Branch and Associates. Branch and Associates is a general contractor that is currently working on building a new school for Cabarrus County schools.

The scam originated on November 27, 2018, with a string of emails the scammers sent, portraying Branch and Associates. These emails included a bank update request. County officials claimed the email looked legitimate, and that they often receive these requests. Therefore, they completed the update with no questions asked.

Then, in December the county’s payment was sent to the updated bank account. Once it was cleared, the crooks funneled the funds to various accounts.

The county did not realize they had made a mistake until January 8, 2019, when the legitimate contractor sent a reminder that the December payment was not made. The county confirmed the funds were processed and realized they had been scammed.

County officials notified their bank immediately and were able to recover a fraction of the initial $2.5M payment. Just over $776,000 to be exact.

At this time, the scam remains under investigation by the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

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One thought on “North Carolina County Loses $1.7M in Email Scam

  1. It would be helpful to include hints on how organizations can avoid falling for this type of scum-scam.
    Any useful hints besides: “Verify all supposed banking changes with the principal”?
    (Pls check typo in “dupped.”)

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