Anit-fraud awareness training will be offered to City of Armstrong staff following a fraud attempt Feb. 11, 2021. (File)

Anit-fraud awareness training will be offered to City of Armstrong staff following a fraud attempt Feb. 11, 2021. (File)

Fraud attempt: Armstrong mayor doesn’t actually need $700 in gift cards

Someone had used city staff emails to impersonate the mayor in attempts to steal money

  • Feb. 19, 2021 1:15 p.m.

Anti-fraud awareness training will be provided to City of Armstrong staff following a fraud attempt last week.

As it turns out, Mayor Chris Pieper doesn’t need $700 in Google Play cards.

Community Services manager Warren Smith said city council and staff received an email “from Chris” on Feb. 11, asking for the gift cards. But the email came from an unknown Gmail account.

“When I first read it, I thought, ‘This is odd,’ but kind of took it that it was actually from him and thought, ‘No, no, no, this isn’t right,’” Smith said.

IT was notified right away, Smith said, and the individual was blocked.

The unknown individual had accessed city council and staff’s emails through the website, Smith said.

“No actual fraud was committed,” he said, “But there are a number of staff that potentially could have taken that next step.”

With a background in community policing and RCMP, Smith said he’s seen fraud attempts before.

“Time and time again, people get caught up in this and make the mistake in complying or providing information,” he said.

Anti-fraud awareness training will be offered internally, Smith said, noting a request has already been put in with the RCMP.

“We thought it was important to educate staff and the public,” he said.

READ MORE: Fraud alert issued by Vernon police

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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