Marshfield School District falls victim to $660,000 scam

Published: Jun. 13, 2019 at 11:42 AM CDT
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The School District of Marshfield reports it was the target of an "elaborate" cyber scam that initially cost $660,000.

A press release from the district says the business office got an email in April from someone claiming to be a school district vendor.

It said the vendor was updating its banking information and needed the district's bank routing form. The business office sent the form, which was completed and returned.

A payment of approximately $660,000 was sent in May to the bogus account.

District officials called the police when the fraudulent transaction was discovered May 30. Forward Bank and the district found out the scammer tried to exchange $500,000 of the transaction at a Florida credit union.

That money has been returned to the district. The FBI is working to track down the rest of the money.

"This involves something where you want to be sure you have two sets of eyes that are taking a look at a request of this kind of nature, considering it coming through an email or electronic means," said Marshfield Superintendent, Dr. Ryan Christianson.

He added the district is updating it's policies to make sure it doesn't happen again and that starts with more training.

At this point, Dr. Christianson said he can't say if there will be any sort of disciplinary action or not against the staff member who approved the request, as the situation is still under investigation.

He hopes other districts, organizations and businesses will learn from their situation, to be more diligent and aware, so they don't become a victim too.

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