Culture

A Queensland Council Lost $450,000 To Online Scammers

"This Nigerian Prince needs our help! Quick, call the Mayor!"

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We’ve all been on the receiving end of dodgy scam emails. Nigerian princes, long-lost relatives, or surprise lottery winnings for competitions we didn’t even know we entered. Most of us hit delete and then call up our grandparents and tell them to be careful who they give their credit card details too. But not Brisbane City Council, who managed to pay out a massive $450,000 to online scammers in the past month.

The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quick, told the ABC that the council fell victim to a “sophisticated and targeted scam” involving fake invoices and email addresses. “They were payments that should’ve gone to a professional services provider but have gone to a scam account which was set up through a process which the scammers used,” Quick said. Sophisticated? It sounds more like every other online scam doing the rounds.

“Scammers are fraudsters and they have their own sophisticated system,” Quirk sad. Yeah, sophisticated systems involving elaborate and lengthy emails begging for help to transfer large sums of money out of Nigeria.

Brisbane City Council seems to have given up any hope of getting the money back, though they have called in auditors to investigate how they lost nearly half a million dollars. Here’s a hot tip: Maybe not don’t pay random invoices. You’re a branch of government, not an elderly relative unfamiliar with the nuance of the internet.

Get it together, Queensland.