Business Email Compromise Hits Portland Public Schools

Here at Cyber Safe Workforce, we serve many school districts. So, when there are stories about cyber attacks on schools, we follow them closely and keep our clients in mind.


The Scam

Portland Public Schools fell victim to Business Email Compromise last year. School employees transferred $2.9 million to a fraudster posing as a construction contractor working with the district. In this case, the error was realized quickly, before funds left the fraudulent account, and the District was able to recover the funds. Two employees involved in approving the payment, while not accused of criminal activity, were suspended.

Cyber Tip: Bring cyber awareness to the foreground.

While BEC scams can be sophisticated and difficult to spot, it is possible to avoid these scams with a strong cyber awareness culture. The suspension of two employees may indicate that there were procedures in place that were not followed. For example, there may have been a rule written somewhere that employees must call to confirm vendor account changes, but the “why” has not been discussed. Employees don’t understand that ignoring this rule could be a multi-million dollar mistake. When cyber awareness is part of the regular conversation, related policies and procedures will be on everyone’s mind.

Do you need help keeping cyber awareness in the foreground? Contact us about our bite-sized tips.

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