Essex Region Conservation Authority Suffers Online Fraud Incident

Friday September 4th, 2020

Posted at 2:13pm

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority announced Friday it has been the victim of online fraud.

ERCA officials say two transactions were recently made to two falsified bank accounts as a result of a complex phishing email to ERCA staff in which the fraudster posed as an internal staff member.

They say the first transaction was in the form of an electronic transfer of funds made to the fraudster in the amount of $61,876 and was processed on July 14th, 2020. The second transaction was also in the form an electronic transfer of funds made to the fraudster in the amount of approximately $230,865 on July 27th, 2020.

ERCA says none of the funds affected by the fraud were from the Essex Region Conservation Foundation and no funds from donors were impacted.

Officials say they reported the unauthorized payments to their financial institution, notified the OPP, and their insurance company. They say additional internal controls were also implemented to prevent any future occurrences. Criminal investigations are also underway.

ERCA says its IT systems were not further compromised during the incident.

“These types of targeted attacks are all too common and can take many forms,” said Chair of the Board of Directors, Kieran McKenzie. “Governments and businesses are just as vulnerable to scams as are individuals.”

“Rest assured we are working with all appropriate authorities to fully investigate this matter,” he said.

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