City of Fort Lauderdale loses $1.2 million in phishing scam, police in Florida say

The City of Fort Lauderdale was bilked out of $1.2 million dollars in what police in South Florida are saying was a phishing scam.

The city made the large payment on September 14 for what they believed was a legitimate bill from Moss Construction, according to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told CNN affiliate WSVN Moss Construction is working on building a police station for the city, located 28 miles north of Miami.

“It’s $144 million, so they’re in full construction mode, so it would’ve been consistent with the practice that we’ve been following,” Trantalis said, WSVN reported.

“It wasn’t just an email, like, ‘Hey, this is Moss Construction. Send me $1.2 million,’ It was followed up with full documentation, multiple paperwork,” Trantalis added.

Fort Lauderdale police said it was later discovered the payment request was fraudulent.

“Malicious actors took advantage of our good name and reputation to attempt fraud,” a Moss Construction spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

“They found a few pieces of common information, standardly found in an online search, and used it as part of their attempted phishing scam,” the spokesperson said.

The incident is under investigation, according to Fort Lauderdale police.

“We would like to take this time to remind our community to exercise caution when fulfilling payment requests and to stay vigilant and aware of potential scams,” the police department added.

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