School District of Marshfield Targeted by $660,000 Cyber-Scam

FBI Involved in Investigation

MARSHFIELD, WI — On May 30, 2019, the School District of Marshfield discovered it had been the victim of a cyber-scam that involved the fraudulent impersonation of a school district vendor.

The issue stemmed from an email sent to the district’s business office on April 23, 2019. The sender represented themselves as an official from a district vendor.

The email indicated the vendor was updating its banking information and requested the district’s bank routing form so that the contractor could provide the updated information. A form was sent by the business office for the necessary information, and the scammer returned the completed form. A payment of approximately $660,000 was later sent to the fraudulent bank account on May 22, 2019.

Upon discovering the fraudulent transaction, the district notified local police and an investigation was initiated. Working with representatives from Forward Bank of Marshfield, it was determined that a party had attempted to exchange approximately a half-million dollars of the fraudulent transaction through a credit union in Florida.

Staff at the credit union recognized suspicious activity on the account and halted the transaction. The half-million dollar amount has since been recovered and returned to the School District of Marshfield through the assistance of Forward Bank.

The FBI is now tracking down the remaining missing funds. The district has also filed a fraud insurance claim with its insurance carrier to seek recovery for the remainder of the missing funds.

“The district continues to work with local police, the FBI, Forward Bank and our insurance company to recoup the remaining money. At the same time, we are working to update our processes to ensure nothing like this happens again. We are also alerting other school districts of this fraud,” said Ryan Christianson, superintendent. “We are grateful for the quick response of the authorities, the bank and our insurance company to this very elaborate scam.”