THE Ayuntamiento of Cordoba has become the latest victim of cyber crime after an online scam left it €400,000 out of pocket.
The Urban Planning Department, or ‘Urbanismo’ was conned by online fraudsters who used a ‘fake official document’ to trick the Town Hall into making the large payment into the criminals account.
The payment was made back in February, but was only detected last month.
The discovery has led into a full investigation by the Policia Nacional to recover the funds.
Town hall bosses said scammers used a fraudulent email address and copied a commercial document to ask for payment into an account that did not correspond to the company it purported to represent.
A second payment of €200,000 was thankfully stopped before it could be transferred.
After the discovery of the loss, the Town Hall worked to retrieve the cash by blocking the payment to what is allegedly an ING account.
Questions are now being asked as to why the transfer was not flagged up as suspicious by the Town Hall’s own provider, as the account numbers did not add up.
Police are also investigating how the company’s information was leaked to a third party to enable the scammers to obtain details of the Town Hall’s actions.
Throughout the current state of alarm, the Policia Nacional has warned of an increase in cybercrime.
With many citizens quarantined at home and many businesses at breaking point, many become sitting ducks to online criminals.
According to figures revealed by the Guardia Civil in April, cyber fraud increased by 70% during the lockdown.
Many national businesses were targeted including Correos, as well as many health institutions being targeted with fake purchases of PPE and medical supplies.